Your spine is comprised of connected vertebrae and cartilage discs that act as shock absorbers. These structures form a cage that protects your spinal cord as it sits within the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis causes the spinal canal to narrow, pinching the spinal cord and causing pain.

Spinal stenosis and symptoms

Spinal stenosis generally affects people over 50 years of age. Common symptoms include neck and lower back pain, stiffness and numbness. Other symptoms include:

sciatica – shooting pains down one leg or buttock

foot drop – leg weakness, causing you to ‘slap’ your foot on the ground as you walk

pain when standing or walking

loss of bladder and bowel control in extreme cases when the nerves to the bladder and bowel have become compressed and weakened


At Manchester Neurosurgery Group, headed by consultant neurosurgeon, Mr Shafqat Burkhari, we will take a full medical history from you during your first consultation. You may also undergo one or more tests to determine whether you have spinal stenosis.

You may also need to have an X-ray to highlight any changes to the shape of your vertebrae. MRI scanning can be used to take a 3D image of your spine, which can highlight tumours, disc and ligament damage. Another possible investigation could be a CT scan. A CT scan uses X-rays to create a 3D image and can show soft tissue damage as well as bone issues.


Mr Shafqat Burkhari will probably begin treating your condition with nonsurgical options such as medication and pain relief. The prescribed pain relief can be effective in the short term and the drugs recommended are all available over the counter without a prescription.

Other drug therapy that might be helpful in the management of spinal stenosis includes muscle relaxants and anti-seizure medication.

In addition to pain killers, your doctor may suggest the use of corticosteroid injections in your back or neck. These injections contain steroids that work by helping to reduce inflammation. However, some people suffer from side-effects that steroids cause, so the injections are generally used sparingly.

Physiotherapy with a specialist practitioner can help to build muscle strength and flexibility, and can also improve your balance, provided the correct exercises are carried out regularly.

If spinal stenosis causes you difficulty in walking and moving about, you may benefit from wearing a corset, braces or a walker.


If you suffer from severe spinal stenosis, you may have problems with mobility, and you could also experience issues with bowel and bladder control. In such cases, surgery is sometimes recommended as the best course of treatment for the condition.

Surgery to correct spinal stenosis is generally carried out via procedures such as laminectomy and laminoplasty. The goal of these procedures is to create space between the bones of the spine to enable the inflammation that is causing the pain to recede.

To find out more about how Mr Shafqat Burkhari can help you treat your spinal stenosis, contact us at Manchester Neurosurgery Group today.