Lumbar stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, known as the lumbar area. It is usually caused by age-related conditions like arthritis, but it can also be due to herniated discs, thickening ligaments, and tumors.
Lumbar spinal stenosis can result in lower back pain, and also pain, numbness, or tingling in the legs, thighs, and feet. The symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis may sometimes be managed with medications or injections, but surgery is often needed to fully address the problem.
The surgeons at Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence possess the skill and expertise necessary to treat lumbar spinal stenosis with a minimally invasive, patient-centered approach. You can contact us today at 888.538.0565 to set up a consultation.
What is Lumbar Stenosis?
Lumbar stenosis is defined as the narrowing of spinal canal in the lumbar region of the spine. The narrowing compresses the nerve roots and spinal cord, resulting in adverse symptoms like pain, numbness, and weakness. Not only is it one of the most common forms of stenosis, but it’s also a common cause of lower back pain.
As we age, degenerative changes where the bones and soft tissues in the spine thicken or become overgrown can begin to develop. Spinal stenosis is most common in people over the age of 50, and it affects both men and women equally. Some form of degenerative spinal changes can be seen in the vast majority of those over 50, but the degree varies and not all cases lead to stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis can also be congenital, as some people are born with back problems that may later progress into spinal stenosis.
What Causes Lumbar Stenosis?
The most common cause of lumbar stenosis is arthritis. Discs may become arthritic as they lose water, dry out, and weaken with age. This can cause discs to settle or collapse, transferring weight to the facet joints and tapering the tunnels that the nerves exit through.
When the weight is transferred to the facet joint, the facet joints begin to degenerate and lead to arthritis. The cartilage that protects these joints wears away and the body begins to grow more bone in the joint to make up for it. These bone growths, or spurs, narrow the space around the spine. The ligaments around the joints can also thicken, further reducing the space.
Lumbar stenosis can also occur as a result of:
- Herniated Discs
What are the Symptoms of Lumbar Stenosis?
When lumbar stenosis occurs and sufficient pressure is placed on the spinal cord or nerves, adverse symptoms will follow. The majority of these symptoms include:
- Pain, numbness, or loss of strength in the legs, feet, and posterior
- Pain in the lower back – depending on the severity of the arthritis
- Weakness in the legs, causing foot drop
- Stiffness in the thighs and legs
The loss of bladder or bowel control can happen in severe cases. Symptoms will vary depending on the case and the cause of the lumbar spinal stenosis. It is important to seek expert medical attention if you are suffering from symptoms that interfere with your quality of life. Spine conditions like lumbar spinal stenosis can also degrade with time, making early treatment the best option.
How is Lumbar Stenosis Treated?
Most cases are first treated with non-surgical means like medications, therapy, and steroid injections. If the symptoms are minor, these types of treatments can be effective. If non-surgical treatment has been ineffective and symptoms are becoming worse or are affecting the patient’s quality of life, surgical treatment is often advised.
At Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence, our surgeons are experts in the surgical procedures used to treat stenosis. These procedures include:
Contact a Spinal Stenosis Expert in Los Angeles
If you are suffering from symptoms that may be related to lumbar spinal stenosis, or have been told that you may need spine surgery, the world-renowned spine specialists at Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence are here to help. Our world-renowned team of surgeons provides the very best Los Angeles spinal stenosis surgery with a patient friendly approach in an unmatched outpatient facility. If you would like to schedule a consultation with an expert, call today at 888.538.0565 or use our contact form.