Lumbar Spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back
Spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. As the spinal canal narrows, the nerve roots in the spinal cord become compressed. This nerve compression usually results in local pain in the back and radiating pain in the buttock, leg and/or foot.
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 physician before beginning a treatment routine for spinal stenosis or any spine condition. Notify your physician 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. The reason for this is simple: the lumbar spine undergoes the most strain over the years. The spine is divided into three main sections: cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back) and lumbar (lower back). The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting the majority of the body’s weight and mass. Over time, as we age and increase in body mass, the components of the lumbar spine begin to gradually degenerate. The vertebrae might become misaligned or the discs might bulge, 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 — 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. In order to help prevent lumbar spinal stenosis, practice a healthy diet and exercise plan so you can maintain a healthy weight.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis can be caused by several factors ranging from the natural degradation of the spine to other spine conditions contributing to the narrowing of the spinal canal. In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your lumbar spinal stenosis, schedule an MRI review with your physician or one of our consultants.
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
- 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 typically 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, and 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. However, if you do not find lasting pain relief from conservative treatments, you may consider surgical options. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive stabilization and decompression surgeries to treat lumbar spinal stenosis. You can schedule an MRI review with one of our physicians to determine your candidacy for one of our minimally invasive procedures for lumbar spinal stenosis:
If you’ve tried conservative treatments but are still experiencing pain and other debilitating spinal stenosis symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a no-cost MRI review* and discuss whether you are a candidate for our outpatient, minimally invasive treatment options.