Your lower back is known as your lumbar area. When the spinal canal in your lumbar area becomes narrow, you may face a condition called lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis can place pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that make their way from your spinal cord to your muscles.
If you are living with lumbar spinal stenosis, you may have difficulty walking long distances or lean forward frequently in order to relieve lower back pressure. Also, you may experience pain or numbness in your legs.
Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
In most cases, people with lumbar spinal stenosis gradually develop symptoms over time. The most common symptom includes pain in the lower back as well as pain that radiates into the buttocks and down into the legs. Loss of sensation and weakness in the feet and loss of sexual ability may also occur.
Causes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Osteoarthritis, which arises when flexible tissue at the ends of the bones faces wear and tear, is the most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis. In addition to osteoarthritis, other conditions such as a narrow spinal canal, a spinal injury or tumor, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain bone diseases may lead to lumbar spinal stenosis. This condition is most common in women and individuals are at least 50 years of age.
Diagnosis of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Diagnosing lumbar spinal stenosis involves a comprehensive physical exam. During the exam, you can expect a doctor to ask you several questions about your symptoms and search for signs of spinal stenosis like abnormal reflexes or weakness.
They will likely conduct an imaging test such as an x-ray of your lumbar spine to see if any bone growths that push on your spinal nerves and narrow your canal are present. MRI and CT scans may be performed as well to allow the doctor to look at your spinal canal and nerves in great detail.
Treatments of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis can often be treated with conservative measures such as physical therapy to strengthen and support your back and medications to alleviate pain and discomfort. If conseravative treatments prove to be ineffective, surgery to remove your bone spurs and widen your lumbar spine may be necessary.
Contact SpineRad for a Second Opinion
If you’ve already seen a medical provider to find out whether or not you have lumbar spinal stenosis, we encourage you to reach out to us for education, explanation and information regarding your recent scans. Contact us today for more information.