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Lumbar spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back

Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal column, most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. As the spinal canal narrows, spinal nerves can become compressed. This nerve compression usually results in local pain in the back and radiating pain in the buttocks, legs and feet.

If you have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, you understand the limitations lower back pain places on your life. There are several treatment options, including at-home exercises and stretches, to try to ease the pain caused by spinal stenosis. Always consult your doctor before beginning a treatment routine for spinal stenosis or any spine condition. Notify your doctor if your pain or discomfort changes during your treatment session.

Why spinal stenosis is commonly found in the lumbar region of the spine

The lumbar spine is the most common location for spinal stenosis. This is because this area undergoes the most strain over the years. The spine is divided into three main sections: cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower). The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting the majority of the body’s weight and mass. With time and age-related changes, the components of the lumbar spine begin to gradually degenerate. The vertebrae might become misaligned or the discs can become displaced, all creating less space between the spinal canal and the spinal cord.

Additionally, the deterioration of the integrity of the lumbar spine could lead to bone spurs, which are small growths on the vertebrae or joints of the spine. Bone spurs can compress the nerve roots in the spinal cord and narrow the spinal canal. While there is no way to completely prevent lumbar spinal stenosis, taking steps like practicing a healthy diet and exercise plan can help limit the pressure placed on this area.

Lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms and treatment

While the cause of your lumbar spinal stenosis may vary the symptoms slightly, the main symptoms associated with spinal stenosis are as follows:

  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Radiating pain in the buttocks, legs and feet, often on one side of the body
  • A tingling feeling or loss of sensation in the legs

These symptoms can often be managed with lifestyle changes, gentle stretching and strength-building exercises. Many patients with lumbar spinal stenosis feel relief from forward-bending stretches that round or arch the lower back and expand the openings within the spinal column. Other conservative spinal stenosis treatments include anti-inflammatory or pain medication, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections.

Nonsurgical treatments are often effective in treating the symptoms of spinal stenosis. However, if you do not find lasting pain relief from conservative treatments, you may consider surgical options. At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive stabilization and decompression surgeries to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, including the following procedures:

If you’ve tried conservative treatments but are still experiencing pain and other debilitating spinal stenosis symptoms, contact USA Spine Care. We’re happy to help you receive a free MRI review* and discuss whether you may be a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient treatment options.

Learn more today

If you're living with spinal stenosis in the upper spine and searching for relief, reach out to USA Spine Care for help. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping people develop the right care plan to  reach treatment goals and achieve lasting relief.

Contact us today to learn more. Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Spinal Stenosis "Quick Answers"

Depending on the region and severity Spinal stenosis feels like tingling, burning and/or weakness in the hands, arms, neck, lower back or legs. It may also feel like a radiating pain or shooting shock-like pain. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Overview Defining Spinal Stenosis Researching Spinal Stenosis Learning About Back Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Pathophysiology
The types of spinal stenosis are region based and consist of cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back) and lumbar or lower back. In addition, foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramen. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis of the Neck Cervical Stenosis - Basic Facts Neck Stenosis Causes Neck Stenosis Treatment Central Canal Stenosis Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis in the Back
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition, most often located in the Lumbar spine, may be caused by degeneration of the spine, wear and tear, sports injury, & collapsing discs. Read more in the links below. What Causes Spinal Stenosis? Obesity May Lead to a Stenosis Diagnosis Age and its Role in the Development of Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Causes Identifying Common Causes From Birth Defects to Getting Older Degenerative Conditions Car Accident Injuries
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include tingling or numbness in the extremities, pain and weakness in the neck, back and/or legs. In severe cases bladder, bowel dysfunction/continence. Learn more in the links below: What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis What Should I Do If I Think I Have Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis and Hand Pain Recognizing Spinal Stenosis Have You Been Diagnosed? About Your Diagnosis Diagnostic Process Helping Your Physician How a Diagnosis Is Made Arriving at a Diagnosis
Physician specialties that treat spinal stenosis include: Pain management & rehabilitation physicians, spine surgeons, orthopedic specialists & neurosurgeons. Read more about these specialties in the links below: Doctors Who Treat Spinal Stenosis Spinal Decompression Doctors
Patients can expect recovery to last 4-6 weeks in most cases (depending on the complexity of your condition). People who choose minimally invasive spine surgery recover faster and get back to work sooner than those who choose open back surgery. Read more in the links below: Recovery After a Procedure What to Expect Recovery Times

  • Problems from anesthesia.
  • A deep infection in the surgical wound.
  • A skin infection.
  • Blood clots.
  • Nerve injury, including weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
  • Tears in the fibrous tissue that covers the spinal cord and the nerve near the spinal cord. These tears may require more surgery.
  • Trouble passing urine, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Long-term (chronic) pain, which happens after surgery in some cases.
  • The chance that the surgery won't relieve your symptoms. And even if you get better with surgery, there is a chance that you may get new symptoms in the future.
  • Death from problems caused by surgery, but this is rare.

Read more in the links below: Overview of Risk Factors Most Common Risk Factors Obesity & Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis & Arthritis Treating Elderly Patients

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