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:
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.
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 ProcedureWhat to ExpectRecovery Times
Problems from anesthesia.
A deep infection in the surgical wound.
A skin infection.
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.
^Results are typical, but not guaranteed, each patients experience with spine surgery will differ.
For more information, visit usaspinecare.com/results. The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a replacement for a medical diagnosis.
*Our MRI review is an informational review of the MRI report that you provide to us and is not a form of diagnosis. A diagnosis and a final determination of whether you may benefit from treatment at USA Spine Care can only be made after you have been physically examined by our medical professionals at USA Spine Care. The MRI review has no value and will not be billed.