What Is Canal Stenosis?


Quick Answer

Cleveland Clinic describes lumbar canal stenosis as the narrowing of the spinal canal or the tunnels by which nerves communicate with the canal. The condition typically occurs as a result of changes related to aging, such as a vertebrae moving out of alignment. The nerve root of the spinal cord is often pinched as the spinal canal narrows. As the diameter of the canal decreases, the nerves become more irritated.

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According to Cleveland Clinic, symptoms of lumbar canal stenosis include numbness, weakness or pain in the hips, legs, groin, lower back or buttocks. The severity of the pain usually worsens when a person is standing or walking and may decrease when he is sitting or lying down.

Cleveland Clinic notes that nonsurgical treatment options are used to remove pressure from nerves and allow them to function properly. Physical therapy exercises are often very beneficial, as is prescription pain relief medication such as analgesics or NSAIDs. Epidural injections are also effective at reducing inflammation and swelling of nerve roots. A special surgical procedure called a laminectomy is sometimes necessary for sufferers with severe symptoms that fail to respond to nonsurgical treatments. This procedure lessens pressure on the nerves by opening up the tunnels of the vertebrae.

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