Spinal stenosis and leg pain — minimally invasive treatment options from Laser Spine Institute

Spinal stenosis is related to leg pain because leg pain is a very common symptom of this condition when it occurs in the lower back. Stenosis is a term that describes narrowing of the spinal canal, where the spinal cord and nerve roots are surrounded by a vertical column of vertebrae, the bones in the spine. Constriction of the spinal canal can occur when the abnormal growth of tissue or bone narrows the openings where nerves travel. This can compress the nerve roots that branch out from the spine or the spinal cord itself. Spinal stenosis in the lumbar (lower) spine can result in pain, numbness or weakness in the legs, as well as the hips and buttocks.

The combination of pain and limited mobility caused by spinal stenosis can have a large impact on your life, taking you away from your favorite people and activities. If you are trying to get treatment to return to a more active life with less pain, learning about the causes of spinal stenosis and the full range of treatment options is a great way to start.

Causes of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis can be caused by a range of factors. It is commonly brought on by age-related degeneration and typically worsens slowly over time as the shape and size of the spinal components change. Some causes that can contribute to narrowing of the spinal canal include:

  • Spinal discs degenerate and bulge or rupture into the spinal canal.
  • The connective tissue, or ligaments, that connect the spine become thicker over time.
  • Joint disease like osteoarthritis leads to the growth of bone spurs, or osteophytes, that encroach upon the spinal openings and press on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Spinal stenosis causes leg pain because the nerves that travel out of the lower spine send sensory and motor information to the lower body. If one of these nerves is compressed by stenosis, pain and muscle weakness can result in the legs.

Laser Spine Institute treatment options

If your leg pain is traced to spinal stenosis, your health care provider might recommend that you initially try nonsurgical treatments like over-the-counter pain relievers, hot and cold packs, low-impact exercises, massage, restricted activity and rest. If you find that your pain worsens or is unresponsive to such treatments, consult with Laser Spine Institute. By using a muscle-sparing, less than 1-inch incision to access the spine, our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery offers patients a shorter recovery time than traditional open back surgery.

Our team can review your MRI report at no cost* to determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive treatment at Laser Spine Institute.

Browse Related Resources