4 things you need to know about lumbar spinal stenosis
What began with you hunched over a shopping cart because of your back pain ended with your physician telling you that you have lumbar spinal stenosis. Despite the fact that your physician tried to explain your condition to you in terms you could understand, you left the office trying to grasp the reality of lumbar spinal stenosis. But the actuality is that you were confused and a more than a little concerned about your recent diagnosis.
So, what is lumbar spinal stenosis?
Let’s start by understanding what each part of the phrase “lumbar spinal stenosis” means. Lumbar refers to your lower back, and spinal stenosis a fancy name for narrowing of your spinal canal.
Arthritis in your spine causes your spinal canal to narrow. As your spinal canal becomes narrower, your spinal cord nerves may be pinched. Pain signals may be sent throughout your body as the nerves become compressed.
Do I really have spinal stenosis?
The only way to know for sure if you have spinal stenosis is to visit your physician and have an evaluation performed. Your physician may recommend that you have an MRI, CT scan or X-ray to more fully understand from where your pain is coming.
What are the symptoms?
Almost everyone will experience lumbar spinal stenosis, but not every person will experience discomfort. Symptoms may range from hardly noticeable to severe. There may be some signs that spinal stenosis is the source of your pain such as:
- Numbness and tingling in your hands and feet
- Radiating pain throughout your legs
- Muscle weakness
Can I get rid of my lumbar spinal stenosis?
Since spinal stenosis is frequently a symptom of aging, there is no cure. But you can help tame painful symptoms through conservative treatment options such as:
- Low-impact exercises
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
In some cases, surgery is suggested to help treat chronic lumbar stenosis pain that hasn’t subsided with conservative treatment. If your physician has suggested a surgical option, contact Laser Spine Institute to submit your MRI for a complimentary initial review.