Prevalence of symptoms of cervical and lumbar stenosis among participants in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Jun 1;31(13):1445-51. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000219875.19688.a6.


Study design: Cross-sectional.

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of symptoms typical of cervical and lumbar stenosis, evaluate the relationship between lumbar and cervical symptoms, and assess the impact of these symptoms on health status.

Summary of background data: Degenerative changes of the spine frequently associated with aging, may result in stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. Little is known about the prevalence or health impact of symptoms associated with stenosis in older individuals.

Methods: Between March 2000 and April 2002, 5995 men aged > or = 65 years participating in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Study completed a self-administered questionnaire and clinical examination. Information was collected on demographics, spinal/joint health, and general health status.

Results: Overall, 14.4% of men had had clinically relevant neck pain during the previous year, and almost half this group (6.5%) had numbness/tingling/weakness (NTW) extending into the arm; 26.2% reported clinically relevant lower back pain, which in 12.2%, was accompanied by NTW extending into the leg. Men with spinal pain (neck or lower back) accompanied by NTW radiating into a limb had poorer health status than those with milder pain.

Conclusions: Symptoms suggestive of cervical and lumbar stenosis are relatively common among this cohort of older men, and generalized spinal stenosis may occur in as many as 4%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cervical Vertebrae*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / complications
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology
  • Lumbar Vertebrae*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Neck Pain / complications
  • Neck Pain / epidemiology
  • Neck Pain / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Stenosis / epidemiology*