Up to 500,000 people in the United States suffer from spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) alone is the leading diagnosis in people over 65 who undergo spinal surgery.
This prevalent issue among people struggling with back pain can become a serious, debilitating condition over time. But with proper diagnosis, treatment, and possibly surgery, you can manage this condition and lead an active, fulfilling life.
At The Spine and Sports Center in Sugar Land and the Willowbrook/Cy-Fair area of Texas, Dr. Benoy Benny can diagnose the root cause of your back pain and recommend the appropriate treatment if you have lumbar spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis basics
Derived from Greek, the word “stenosis” refers to the process of narrowing and “choking” something. In the case of spinal stenosis, the nerves in the spine are constricted. This is often caused by the degenerative effects of aging on the spine, called spondylosis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis specifically refers to narrowing of the lumbar spine, which is more commonly known as the lower back. LSS often occurs after spondylosis causes alterations that compress the spine. These can include:
- Thickening of the ligaments inside the vertebral canal
- Collapsing of the spinal discs
- Changes to the facet joints
Because the nerves in the spine slowly become more compressed and constricted, symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are creeping and insidious at first.
Symptoms and diagnosis of LSS
A classic early symptom of LSS is leg pain that increases while standing and walking around. Sitting down or leaning against things can alleviate this pain, but even visiting the grocery store or taking a short walk can cause discomfort and pain in the legs.
As the nerve compression continues, your pain will likely intensify. You might experience other symptoms, including:
- Lower back pain
- Tingling and numbness in your foot or legs
- Weakness in your foot or legs
If left untreated, LSS can worsen and lead to chronic pain, mobility issues, disability, and even a compression of the nerves at the base of the spine, a condition known as cauda equina.
Treatment options for LSS
Once you’re diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, we can begin building a treatment and pain management plan.
Cortisone injections and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain during the early stages of LSS, while physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles surrounding your spine. This can help you maintain your mobility, flexibility, balance, and stability.
For severe pain and weakness, you might need spinal surgery. We provide a number of different procedures to help with conditions like LSS.
Suffering from back pain and want to learn more about lumbar spinal stenosis and your treatment options? Schedule an appointment by calling the location closest to you or book online today.