Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Everything You Need to Know

As you age, your body—the spine included—undergoes physiological changes due to the natural wear and tear of tissues and organs. This leads to various ailments and pains that patients commonly come to treat at our Aventura pain management clinic. One of these is lumbar spinal stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis in a nutshell

The lumbar spine consists of 5 lumbar vertebrae. It is the area in your lower back that curves toward your abdomen, between the ribs and hips. Stenosis is a medical term that refers to any abnormal narrowing of a canal, or passage in the body.

Lumbar spinal stenosis, therefore, refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, so that the space around the spinal cord is narrowed. This increases the pressure on the spinal cord and the nerve roots, leading to pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs and lower back.

This disease of the spine is a common cause of pain in the lower back and legs of older adults. Research has revealed that lumbar spinal stenosis affects 200,000 Americans, and this number is expected to rise to 64 million by 2025.

Screenshot 2019 01 29 at 12.41.37

Risk factors

The following factors predisposes you to this condition:

  • Over 50 years of age
  • History of trauma to the spine
  • Congenital spinal deformity
  • Genetic disease of the bones and muscles

Causes

The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is arthritis, which is the degeneration of body joints. Arthritis of the spine occurs following spinal disc degeneration and water loss. Dry and weak discs lead to the collapse of disc spaces and the narrowing of the spinal canal.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis depend on the severity of the condition. These include:

  • Back pain

Back pain may, or may not be present, depending on the severity of arthritis

  • Sciatica

Sciatica refers to the burning sensation that starts from the buttocks and radiates down the legs. This happens because of the compression of the spinal nerves that supply the legs and buttocks. As the pressure increases, this can be accompanied by a tingling sensation and numbness.

  • Foot drop

Foot drop is characterized by weakness in one, or both legs that happens when the pressure on the nerve has reached a dangerous level.

  • Sitting and leaning forward relieves pain

This occurs because the spaces around the nerves (spinal canal) widen when you lean forward, thereby relieving some of the pressure from the spinal cord. On the other hand, walking and standing erect can aggravate the pain.

If you are experiencing loss of bowel ,or bladder control and severe pain, or numbness in one or both legs, contact out pain clinic in Aventura immediately as these require immediate medical attention.

Prevention tips

Because lumbar spinal stenosis is age-related, and osteoarthritis is a common concern of people aged 50 and above, the condition cannot be entirely prevented. However, here are some useful tips that can lower your risk of developing the condition:

  • Regular exercise

Doing exercises that target the muscles of your back can make them stronger and provide better support for your lower. It also makes your spine more flexible.

  • Good posture

Maintain a good posture and use proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects. Sleeping on a firm mattress and using an ergonomic chair that has great back support are also recommended.

  • Healthy body weight

Keeping yourself within a normal body weight ensures that you are not putting excess weight and stress on your lower back.

Learn more about Pain Clinic in Aventura

Our Aventura pain management clinic offers patients more options than a primary care doctor when it comes to comprehensive and interventional pain management. Our pain management doctor performs procedures such as nerve blocks, spinal injections, and other interventional techniques to help you manage your pain and improve your quality of life.

Do you have questions, or would you like more information about pain management? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.