What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
The spinal cord is a structure of nerves that run through the spinal canal and connects the brain to the peripheral nervous system. The spinal column protects the spin and is made up of bones, soft tissue, and discs. These spinal nerves enable the body to move, feel tactile stimuli, and experience pain. Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, compressing the spinal cord and causing various issues.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
While spinal stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine, it is more common in the lumbar region, also known as the lower back. Depending on how advanced the spinal stenosis is, people report a range of symptoms from mild to severe. The symptoms of this condition tend to develop gradually, and they can worsen over time. Common symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Lower back pain
- Tingling & numbing in the legs
- Weakness in foot or legs
- Burning pain in legs or buttocks
Causes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is the natural wear and tear that occurs to our bones and joints as we age. This is the reason why this condition is most common among people over the age of 50. In addition to age, other conditions and factors that may cause spinal stenosis include:
The wear and tear caused by osteoarthritis may lead to a bone overgrowth in the spinal canal.
This is an inflammatory form of arthritis affecting the soft tissue that surrounds the spinal cord. This condition can cause the development of bone spurs.
If a crack occurs in the discs that cushion the vertebrae, the soft inner tissue may leak into the spine and compress the nerves.
Spinal tumors are abnormal growths that can develop in the spinal canal and cause pressure on the spinal cord.
Trauma to the spine caused by accidents can create bone fractures or disc displacements that affect the spinal cord.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Lumbar spinal stenosis can be diagnosed through a variety of tests. During your initial visit, a doctor will perform a standard physical examination and assessment of your medical history including current symptoms, past complications, and any genetic illnesses in your family. Your physician may order an MRI, CT scan, or X-rays of your lumbar spine. Once a diagnosis has been reached, the following treatments may be recommended:
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Epidural steroid injections
If any of the previously mentioned symptoms afflict you, there is no need to suffer in silence. We recommend you contact our team of expert pain management specialists to determine which treatment is best for you.