What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

At Rebound, our multidisciplinary team of specialized physicians are equipped with the latest technologies geared toward improving our patients’ quality of life. We believe in educating our patients of their choices and offer surgical and non-surgical options. All of our neurosurgery doctors are board certified and provide care for a number of conditions affecting the brain and spine, including lumbar spinal stenosis.

What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition involving the narrowing of the spinal canal. When a patient is suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis, the nerves traveling through the lower back (to the legs) become compressed. This pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots typically causes pain, weakness or numbness in the legs.

What is the Lumbar Spine?

The lumbar spine is the lower section of the back. It is made up of five vertebrae between the ribs and pelvis.

What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

This condition develops gradually over a long period of time- sometimes several years or decades. Inflammation and compression in the spinal canal cause the common symptoms associated with the condition. Age can play a significant role in the development of lumbar spinal stenosis, as the disks in the spine become less cushioned as we age. This can lead to bulging of a hardened disk, sometimes accompanied by thickened ligaments or bone spurs.

What are Common Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Most patients experience pain, weakness or numbness in their low back, legs, buttocks or calve muscles. Other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty walking long distances
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain that worsens with standing or during certain activities
  • Pain that may subside by sitting or lying down
  • Radiating pain in the thighs or legs
  • Cramping in the legs when walking
  • Loss of leg motor functions (rare)
  • Loss of normal bowel function (rare)
  • Loss of normal bladder function (rare)

Who is Affected by Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is most common in adults older than 60 years of age. This condition occurs equally among men and women.

However, in rare instances, people may be born with back issues that later develop into stenosis.

How is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?

Our brain and spine neurosurgery team will determine whether or not you are experiencing lumbar spinal stenosis by evaluating your symptoms and medical history, doing a physical examination and using diagnostic imaging such as x-ray, MRI, CAT scan, or myelogram.

To learn more about spinal stenosis, check out our surgery animations video here.

Trusted Resources:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons – Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

American Association of Neurological Surgeons – Lumbar Spinal Stenosis