Lumbar Stenosis is a narrowing around the nerves in the low back. This narrowing can be caused by disc herniations, ligaments that have enlarged, bone spurs, or shifting between vertebrae.
Most people with lumbar stenosis begin to have difficulty with standing and/or walking for extended periods. Their legs and thighs can experience pain, numbness, heaviness, or even weakness. For many, sitting down relieves these symptoms after a few minutes, but when they stand or walk, the symptoms return.
Lumbar stenosis is diagnosed initially by the history of difficulty walking and/or standing. Other causes of these symptoms must be ruled out by your doctor. An MRI or CT myelogram of the low back may reveal the narrowed area.
Treatment includes both nonsurgical and surgical options, but for lumbar stenosis, surgery has been shown to be the more effective treatment over time. Nonsurgical treatment involves medications, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments, and lumbar injections. Surgical treatments directly or indirectly open up the tight space. This can include removing bone, ligament, and/or disc material directly causing compression of the nerves. It can also include fusion to achieve indirect decompression and prevent abnormal motion if that is present.