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The bony spinal canal normally has more than enough room for the spinal cord. Typically, the canal is 17 to 18 millimeters around, slightly less than the size of a penny. Spinal stenosis occurs when the canal narrows to 13 millimeters or less.
Spinal stenosis may develop for many reasons. Some of the more common causes of spinal stenosis include:
- Congenital stenosis (born with a narrower-than-normal spinal canal)
- Disk degeneration
- Disk herniation
- Spinal instability