Lumbar spinal stenosis (lower back)
Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal or nerve root passageways (intervertebral foramina) in the lower back become narrowed by the intrusion of anatomical matter, such as bone spurs, herniated discs, displaced vertebrae, thickened ligaments or tumors. The spinal canal and intervertebral foramina also may be narrowed by tissues that formed as a result of an injury or trauma to the spine. In rare cases, spinal narrowing may be present at birth, but it is most commonly caused by factors associated with aging, such as osteoarthritis.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:
- Lower back pain
- Muscle weakness
- 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 typically can be managed with activity modification, 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, as this action serves to expand the openings within the spinal column. Other conservative spinal stenosis treatments include anti-inflammatory or pain medication, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections.
Non-surgical treatments are often effective in treating the symptoms of spinal stenosis, but surgery may be recommended for those who experience frequent and disabling pain. Spinal stenosis surgery often involves an open spine nerve decompression procedure, such as a laminotomy or foraminotomy, and is usually performed in a hospital.
The orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute can perform a laminotomy, foraminotomy and other surgeries for lumbar spinal stenosis, but by using minimally invasive techniques that are performed in an outpatient setting. These procedures achieve the same outcomes as open spine surgeries, but with a much shorter recovery time and fewer side effects since they’re performed through an incision that is about an inch in length versus several inches.
If you’ve tried conservative treatments but are still experiencing pain and other debilitating spinal stenosis symptoms, Laser Spine Institute is here to help you reclaim a more active and healthy lifestyle. Contact us today, and we will review your MRI or CT scan for free.