>In most cases, people experience stenosis in their lower back (a form of the condition called lumbar stenosis). But it can also occur elsewhere, like in the neck, which is called cervical stenosis. In any case, the narrowing that occurs puts extra pressure on the bundle of nerves that travel through your spine (the spinal cord) and may cause pain, the Mayo Clinic explains. While some people have no symptoms or very mild symptoms, others may have intense pain, numbness, muscle weakness, or a tingling sensation. These symptoms tend to get worse over time.
>Because of the way your nerves are laid out, when spinal stenosis occurs in your neck, it can cause numbness tingling, or weakness in your hand, arm, foot, or leg; problems with walking and balance; neck pain; and in severe situations, bowel or bladder issues. When it’s in your lower back, it can cause numbness, weakness, or tingling in your foot or leg; pain or cramping in one or both legs; and back pain.
>Given that most cases of spinal stenosis happen in the lower back, "usually what people notice is a cramping or heavy feeling in their buttocks or thighs," Mike Murray, M.D., an associate of orthopaedic surgery at Penn Medicine, tells SELF. "That’s usually worse with walking and standing, but it gets better with sitting or leaning forward."
>Every time you stand and walk, your spinal canal narrows, Neel Anand, M.D., professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, tells SELF. "In spinal stenosis patients, your nerves get squeezed and you have to sit down to get relief," he says. "When you sit down, you open up the spinal canal."