10 Most Frequently Asked Questions for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis


1. What Type of Person is Most Likely to Get Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

There are three types of people that are most likely to develop Lumbar Spinal Stenosis:

  • Those suffering an injury to the spine
  • Youth born with a narrow spinal canal
  • Men and women over the age of 50

2. What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Normally, a narrowing of the spinal canal is the direct cause of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Narrowing can happen during birth or from an accident. Other causes of this disorder include:

  • Degenerative Conditions (e.g. - Paget's Disease)
  • Herniated Disk
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Tumors
  • Trauma

3. Spinal Stenosis: What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms will vary from person to person but often include the following:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Cramping
  • General pain in the arms and/or legs
  • Sitting position alleviates pain in the back

4. How to Have Spinal Stenosis Properly Diagnosed?

Your doctor will use most, if not all, of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • CAT Scan (Computerized axial tomography)
  • Myelogram

5. Are There Treatment Options that Don’t Involve Surgery?

Yes, there are a number of effective nonsurgical treatment options for Spinal Stenosis:

  • Rest
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Analgesics such as acetaminophen
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Anesthetic injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Spinal cord nerve stimulation
  • Lumbar brace

6. Can I Treat Spinal Stenosis Naturally?

The two natural options that have the most success are consistent chiropractic and physical therapy sessions.

7. When Should Surgery Become the Primary Treatment Option?

Despite all of the non-invasive procedures, the only way to permanently remedy Spinal Stenosis is through surgery. If you are experiencing trouble walking or issues with your bladder, surgery may immediately become your only treatment option.

8. What are the Risks to Consider with Surgery?

The most common risks with Spinal Stenosis surgery include the following:

  • Infection
  • Blood clot
  • Tear in the membrane covering the spinal cord

9. What Can I Expect Post-Surgery?

Post-surgery, most individuals report varying levels of relief including a reduction in pain focused in the legs and back. Most people also report an improved ability to walk normally.

However, numbness may show no improvement. Degeneration of the damaged nerve will most likely continue as well. Alleviation of pain depends on a number of factors including medical history.

10. Is Spinal Stenosis Surgery Actively Being Improved?

Yes, there are many studies and research projects being conducted on the condition of Spinal Stenosis and treatment options.