Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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. Spinal stenosis is usually a slow process that occurs over years and is related to arthritis. The result is 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