Conditions

Getting a Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis

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Lumbar spinal stenosis is a common cause of low back and leg pain. Narrowing of the spinal canal is the direct cause of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. As individuals get older, the spinal column changes as a result of all the wear and tear effects of aging. Degenerative changes of the spine are seen in up to 95% of people by the age of 50 and is most visible in adults over the age of 60. A small number of people are born with back problems that may result in spinal stenosis.

Common causes include:

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

Are these symptoms familiar?

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

  • Severe back pain that inhibits one's ability to move without experiencing pain
  • Burning pain in the buttocks or legs (sciatica). Pressure on the spinal nerves as the spinal column narrows will often start in the back or buttocks and shoot down the leg.
  • Numbness or tingling pain in the buttocks or leg. Increasing pressure on the nerve can also cause a numbing or tingling sensation that accompanies the burning pain.
  • Weakness in the legs where the feet begin to feel heavy and drag as you walk.
  • Less pain when in a sitting position or while leaning forward. Leaning forward can release pressure placed on the lumbar spine – this is created by increasing the space available for nerves within the spinal column.

Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Stenosis.

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


There are a number of effective treatment options for Spinal Stenosis:

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen
  • Analgesics such as acetaminophen 
  • Corticosteroid injections or nerve blocks
  • Physical therapy
  • Lumbar brace
  • Spinal cord nerve stimulation for long-term relief