What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis, also called central stenosis, is a condition that occurs in the lumbar (lower back) area of the spine. The lower spine is made up of five lumbar vertebrae that house the spinal cord, an intricate bundle of nerves, (part of the central nervous system) which originates from the brain and travels through the spinal canal. The central canal is made up of individuals rings, formed by the vertebra. The nerves branch out from the sides of the vertebrae, into the extremities. Over time, wear and tear, disc degeneration, or arthritis can cause these rings to narrow and place pressure on the spinal column. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of the spinal canal which houses the spinal cord. Lumbar spinal stenosis can put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves around it, resulting in low back pain and numbness or tingling in the legs and feet. The orthopedic spine experts at BICMD can diagnose and offer the best treatment options for lumbar spinal stenosis. You can connect with one of our “best in class” specialists through a secure telemedicine visit, without having to leave home.

What causes lumbar spinal stenosis?

The main cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is a wear-and-tear condition called osteoarthritis. There can be other conditions that cause lumbar spinal stenosis and they include:

  • Prior spine surgery and scar tissue
  • Spinal tumors
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Degenerative scoliosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Trauma or injury to the discs or spine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

What are the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?

The narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal can often be asymptomatic. Some of the symptoms can be related to other conditions such as a herniated or bulging disc and could be a combination including lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar pain and pain in the buttocks are chief complaints of lumbar spinal stenosis. Other symptoms include:

  • Dull ache or numbness in the lower spine and buttocks
  • Pain from standing or bending backward
  • Relief from pain when sitting or bending forward
  • Weakness or feeling of fatigue in the legs
  • Burning or pain in the buttocks and legs

How is lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosed?

After obtaining a thorough patient history, the experts at BICMD will ask about your symptoms and may have you perform a few movements or stretches during your telemedicine visit. X-ray imaging, CT scans or an MRI can show if there are issues with the bones, ligaments, discs or other soft tissues. Our experts will review your x-rays or other scans and will then correctly diagnose your spinal condition and offer and explain the best treatment options available.

What is the treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis?

Non-surgical treatment:

The goal of non-surgical treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis is to relieve pain and restore function. Treatments that may help with they symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are:

  • Physical therapy
  • Lumbar traction
  • NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
  • Spinal Injections

Surgical treatment:

If non-surgical treatments fail to restore function and mobility and if they do not ease the painful symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, surgical treatment may become necessary. Many different proven surgical options are available and our orthopedic spine specialists at BICMD can go over them with you. A few different procedures they may recommend are:

  • Lumbar Laminectomy
  • Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF)
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

For more information and resources on lumbar spinal stenosis and low back pain, or to obtain a 2nd opinion before having a surgical procedure, please contact our specialists, by clicking on “Connect With a Doctor.” You will be connected to one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.