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Spinal stenosis and leg pain: specific symptoms and treatment options

For some patients, spinal stenosis and leg pain are closely related. Not everyone with spinal stenosis experiences symptoms, but those who do often report leg pain as a complication. In a healthy spine, the spinal canal is wide enough to accommodate the spinal cord and the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord. When spinal stenosis occurs, the spinal canal and the nerve root exits in between vertebrae can get progressively narrower.

Symptoms like leg pain can occur if the narrowing progresses to the point of putting pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root exiting the spine. If you are dealing with spinal stenosis and leg pain to the point that it’s affecting your everyday routine, learning more about this condition and the treatment options is a great first step in finding the relief you deserve.

What does spinal stenosis-related leg pain feel like?

Patients can experience leg pain and other complications caused by spinal stenosis in a number of different forms. It can present itself in the following ways:

  • A tingling or “pins-and-needles” sensation
  • General numbness
  • Sharp, radiating pain
  • Cramping and muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness

Pain caused by spinal stenosis can develop suddenly, or it can develop gradually over a period of time. Many patients find that the leg pain feels worse when they are standing or walking, but feels better when they are leaning forward, sitting or lying down.

What can patients with spinal stenosis do to reduce their leg pain?

Many patients with mild-to-moderate spinal stenosis can manage their leg pain with conservative treatments. These include anti-inflammatory medications, lumbar support belts and even a few days of bed rest. A series of epidural steroid injections may also provide longer-term relief from leg pain.

In more severe cases, patients may need to explore surgical options. Minimally invasive procedures can provide relief to many patients whose leg pain was not improved by conservative treatments and are an alternative to traditional open spine procedures. If conservative therapies haven’t done enough to improve your spinal stenosis and leg pain, USA Spine Care can help you decide on an appropriate next step. Our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open spine procedures.

Contact us today to learn if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spinal stenosis treatments by asking for your no-cost MRI review.*

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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