As you age your body changes, and this can lead to degeneration of the spine and associated pain. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain as well as pain in one or both of your legs, it might be lumbar stenosis. Lumbar stenosis is fairly common, especially in older individuals, and it is treatable. With offices in Marlton, Linwood, & Brick, we treat patients from all over New Jersey & Philadelphia.
Causes & Symptoms of Lumbar Stenosis
Lumbar stenosis is caused by narrowing of the spinal canal in addition to one or more of the vertebra. The lumbar spine consist of five vertebrae in the lower back. The nerves that come off the spinal cord travel through the area known as the “spinal canal,” and exit through small openings located on the sides of the lumbar vertebrae. These nerves are responsible for transmitting sensation from the lower extremities and buttocks to the brain through the spinal column. They also help transmit signals from the brain to the lower extremities to facilitate motion of the legs, feet, and toes.
The condition known as lumbar stenosis occurs when the spinal canal through which the nerves travel becomes narrowed, which causes compression of both the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. This can be very painful. The most common causes of lumbar stenosis are degenerative disc disease and degenerative arthritis. In most cases, lumbar stenosis occurs as part of the normal aging process, though it can be exacerbated with osteoarthritis. Common symptoms of lumbar stenosis include:
- Lower back pain radiating through one or both buttocks, legs, or feet
- Pain in the legs and buttocks that worsens with walking
- Tingling or loss of feeling in one or both legs and feet
- Progressive weakness in one or both feet and legs
- Difficulty walking normally or reduced range of motion
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call Jersey Spine Associates today to schedule a consultation to check for signs of lumbar stenosis.
Lumbar Stenosis Diagnosis & Treatment Options
When you visit Jersey Spine Associates to have your symptoms checked out, we will perform a thorough physical exam as well as a medical history to diagnose your problem. In addition to the physical exam, you may require x-rays or MRI or CT scans as well, to confirm the diagnosis. There are three types of lumbar stenosis, so an accurate diagnosis is required in order to choose the best course of treatment. The three types are: lateral stenosis, central stenosis, and foraminal stenosis. There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments for lumbar stenosis, depending on the type. Some treatment plans may involve physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or epidural injections. Surgical options include procedures like lumbar laminectomy, foraminotomy, laminotomy, and microendoscopic decompression.
Lumbar stenosis is a common condition but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you allow your condition to worsen, it could affect your mobility as well as your pain. At the first sign of lumbar stenosis, contact Jersey Spine Associates to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You will be glad you did!