Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

The symptoms of spinal stenosis usually begin gradually and worsen over time. Symptoms can vary depending on where in the spine the condition occurs.

Symptoms of lumbar (lower back) spinal stenosis:

  • Pain, cramping, or stiffness in the legs and lower back, especially if you have been standing or walking for a long period of time. This pain usually eases upon bending forward or sitting down.
  • In severe cases, loss of bladder, bowel, or sexual function can occur, and is called cauda equina syndrome
  • Numbness, weakness, tingling, and/or pain in the arm, neck, hand, leg, or foot.
  • In severe cases: Bladder or bowel incontinence
  • Paralysis

Symptoms can overlap from condition to condition, making an accurate diagnosis critical to proper treatment. At the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, our specialists have advanced training in diagnosing and treating conditions of the spine. (See Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Stenosis.)

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Our Care Team

  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NYP Lower Manhattan
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837 (Queens) / 888-922-2257 (Manhattan)
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn)
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan) or 718-303-3739 (Queens)

Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787