Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is usually a slow process that occurs over the years and is related to arthritis. The condition occurs when the spinal canal, which encases and protects the nerve roots, narrows and pinches the spinal cord and/or nerves, known collectively as the cauda equina or horse’s tail. The result is low back pain as well as discomfort in the legs. The result is a thickening of the ligaments, formation of bone spurs, and deterioration of the disc material. A large disc herniation may also result in spinal stenosis.

Signs and symptoms (may include one or more):

  • Mid-back to lower back pain going into legs
  • Difficulty walking
  • Stooped posture
  • Numbness in the feet
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Decreased walking tolerance
  • Falls
  • Early muscle fatigue with exercise
  • Heaviness of legs
  • Bowel and bladder impairment
  • Erectile dysfunction

Why it hurts:

  • As the spinal canal narrows, spinal stenosis pinches the cord and nerves, including nerves that control muscle power and sensation in the legs.

Non-surgical treatment options

  • Posture exercises
  • Rest between activities
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Massage
  • Alexander Technique
  • Pain medications
  • Epidural steroid/facet injections
  • Local injections