The spinal cord is the main transmitter of neural signals in the human body. To ensure this crucial channel of nerve conduction is as well protected as possible, it is enclosed within the spinal canal. This canal is comprised of the body of vertebrae and intervertebral discs in front, the pedicles and vertebral (zygapophyseal) joints on the sides, and the verbal arch from behind.
If the spine’s "shock absorbers", the intervertebral discs, deteriorate, the weight of the body causes them to flatten - and, consequently, broaden. The disc tissue and bony changes of the spine may now extend into the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). If this exerts pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord, problems occur that may include tingling, weak legs, or severe back pain.
The proper treatment depends on the symptoms. Alternatives include medication, exercise therapy or a corset that immobilizes the spine. An operation that provides space for the pinched nerves might also be considered.