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, Laser Spine Institute 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.*

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