The spine is commonly called the backbone. It is a series of bones called vertebrae.
A foramen is an opening or passageway. For this purpose it is an opening in or between bones that allows passage of nerve fibers.
The spinal canal is a series of openings in bone through which the spinal cord and nerve roots pass.
The spinal cord is the main bundle of nerve tissue that passes through the spinal canal, connecting brain and body. It is part of the central nervous system.
Nerve roots branch off the spinal cord in pairs and exit the spinal canal to the right and left through small openings between the vertebrae. This is the dividing line between the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Stenosis is a general term that means narrowing.
Spinal stenosis is narrowing which occurs any place along the spine where nerves pass through the canal or out to the body.
Central canal stenosis refers to narrowing of the spinal cord (or cauda equina of the lumbar spine).
Lateral stenosis is narrowing in the tract where the nerve root exits the central canal.
Neural stenosis or neural foraminal stenosis is a narrowing of the opening between the vertebrae where individual nerve roots pass from the spinal cord to the rest of the body.
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