Q:

What causes L4-L5 spinal stenosis?

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Quick Answer

General aging and degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis and degenerative spondylolisthesis, cause spinal stenosis, according to Spine-health, and L4-L5 and L3-L4 are the most common spinal areas to develop this condition. Most people with lumbar spinal stenosis are over the age of 50.

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Full Answer

There are three types of lumbar spinal stenosis, as Spine-health notes. Foraminal stenosis occurs when a nerve root becomes caught and compressed within the spinal canal. Central stenosis describes when the central canal chokes the cauda equina nerve roots. The most common type of lumbar spinal stenosis, lateral stenosis, occurs when a nerve root outside of the spinal column becomes compressed by a herniated disc, bone protrusion or bulging disc.

People with lumbar spinal stenosis experience leg pain when walking, and notice weakness, tingling or numbness that starts at the lower back and buttocks and continues to the legs, explains Spine-health. As the condition becomes debilitating, a doctor may recommend noninvasive treatments, such as an exercise program, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and epidurals.

Patients who no longer respond to noninvasive treatments and who experience a significant impact on their mobility may choose surgery, as noted by Spine-health. The most common surgery to correct lumber spinal stenosis, a lumbar laminectomy, has an estimated 80 percent success rate. During this procedure, the surgeon removes part of the lamina, bone spur or disc that compresses the nerves.

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