Lumbar spinal canal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. While some people are born with abnormally narrow spinal canals, the majority of people who suffer from stenosis develop it over time as part of the natural aging process. People over the age of 50 are especially susceptible.
Conditions like degenerative disc disease and facet disease can cause bone spurs, herniated discs, bulging discs, and spondylolisthesis, all of which can contribute to canal stenosis. Calcification, the process of ligaments gradually thickening, can also cause the spinal canal to become narrower.
What are the symptoms of spinal canal stenosis?
Spinal canal stenosis in the lower back is not always painful; many people may have stenosis and not even know it. However, when a narrowed spinal canal exerts pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots, painful symptoms can result. When this occurs in the lower spine, these symptoms can include:
- Shooting or burning pain that radiates from the lower back and through the buttocks and legs.
- Tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation, affecting the back and legs.
- Numbness or weakness, though this is indicative of severe spinal stenosis and prolonged neural compression.
How can I treat lumbar spinal canal stenosis?
If, after a physical examination and diagnostic testing such as an MRI, myelogram or bone scan, your doctor confirms a diagnosis of lumbar spinal canal stenosis, he or she will likely suggest a course of conservative treatment. This can include pain medication, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, low-impact exercise, lifestyle changes and hot/cold therapy. If these methods prove ineffective after an extended period of time, you may be referred to a surgical specialist to explore your surgical options.
If you are considering spine surgery to treat canal stenosis, USA Spine Care is here to help. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain with our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures. Our highly skilled surgeons are able to access the spine without the large incision, extensive muscle disruption and long recovery periods^ associated with traditional open spine surgery.
Contact us today for a no-cost review* of your MRI report or CT scan to find out if you could be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.
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