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256 Bunn Drive, Suite 3B
Princeton, NJ 08540

P: 609.924.8060 F: 609.924.9212

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In Plain English: Definition of the Spinal Canal

Spinal Canal Anatomy and Function
In your back is a spinal column, in which many spinal bones (called vertebra) are stacked on top of each other. Vertebrae look like rings of bone with a hollow center. When these rings are stacked on top of each other, they create a hollow cavity or tube-like structure. This elongated cavity is what is known as the spinal canal. Measuring between 43 and 45 centimeters (17 to 18 inches) long and extending from the base of the brain down to the pelvis, the spinal canal houses and protects the soft nervous tissue of the spinal cord.

Common Conditions that Affect the Spinal Canal
What is the narrowing of the spinal canal? It is called spinal canal stenosis and it is one of the most common diseases that can affect the spinal canal. The narrowing of the spinal canal is due to a thickening of bone and tissue. A pinching sensation, back pain, and numbness are all familiar symptoms of spinal canal stenosis. Another common disease of the spinal canal is spina bifida, which is a birth defect that occurs when the vertebrae that make up the canal do not properly form during fetal development.

The spinal canal can be affected by fractures or penetration caused by automobile accidents, bullet wounds, or other severe trauma. Such fractures or penetration can damage the spinal cord and cause neurological problems. The spinal canal can also be affected by deformities, such as kyphosis – a forward curvature of the spine, and scoliosis – a sideways curvature. The spine surgeons and back specialists at University Spine Associates are experienced in treating patients with a variety of spinal canal issues. If you suffer from back pain, contact University Spine Associates at 609-924-8060 to schedule a consultation and discover what treatment options are available to help you find the relief you deserve.




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