Lumbar canal stenosis

Lumbar canal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows in the lumbar (lower back) section of the spine. This condition can also occur in the cervical spine (neck) as cervical canal stenosis.

This condition is commonly caused as a result of the natural deterioration of the spine that develops with age. Often, another degenerative spine condition is the cause for the narrowing of the lumbar canal. For example, a herniated disc in the lumbar spine will cause a disc to move out of alignment and protrude into the canal space, therefore narrowing the space in the canal for the nerves to pass through.

Symptoms of lumbar canal stenosis

By itself, spinal stenosis does not necessarily cause any symptoms. However, because the spinal canal is the travel pathway for nerves near the spine, a narrowed canal increases the risk of pinching or trapping a nerve. If lumbar spinal stenosis causes a spinal nerve or the spinal cord itself to be compressed, symptoms may develop. The symptoms of nerve compression may vary but typically include pain, which can radiate along the nerve pathway from the spine to the extremities. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Pins-and-needles feeling

Treatment options

Lumbar canal stenosis can result in symptoms in the lower back, buttocks, hips, thighs, calves, ankles, feet and even the toes. Many patients feel pain that radiates all the way down one or both legs, which is also referred to as sciatica pain.

For many cases of lumbar canal stenosis, conservative, nonsurgical treatments are usually very effective in reducing the early pain and symptoms of this condition. Conservative therapy can include many treatment methods, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Massage
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Pain medications
  • Chiropractic manipulation

Minimally invasive procedures

If conservative treatment has failed to ease your symptoms caused by lumbar canal stenosis, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer both decompression and stabilization surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ For many spine conditions causing the lumbar canal to narrow, a minimally invasive decompression surgery can remove a small piece of the damaged part of the spine to create more space in the spinal canal. For some patients, a stabilization surgery may be needed to remove the damaged disc or vertebra and replace it with an artificial disc and/or bone grafts.

Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients often experience a lower risk of infection and complication as well as a shorter recovery time^ compared to the more invasive traditional open back surgery.

Take the next step toward pain relief and contact Laser Spine Institute. We can review your MRI report or CT scan and determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.