What is lumbar stenosis?


Quick Answer

Lumbar stenosis is a physical condition in which the spinal canal becomes narrowed, resulting in pain and discomfort in the lower extremities. The condition tends to occur as the bones, discs, muscles and ligaments of the spinal column degenerate, according to Spine-Health.

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What is lumbar stenosis?
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Full Answer

Lumbar stenosis occurs in the lumbar spine region where nerves come off the spinal cord and transmit sensations and signals from the buttocks and lower extremities to the brain, as explained by MedicineNet. The most common causes of the condition are degenerative arthritis and degenerative disc disease. While it tends to occur as a natural part of the aging process, it can be caused by tumors, infections and bone disorders, such as Pagent’s disease.

Symptoms often include lower back pain, weakness, numbness, pain and loss of sensation in the legs. Pain and discomfort tend to worsen with walking, standing and bending backward but can often be alleviated when the patient is sitting or leaning forward. Although a physical examination is normally done to diagnose lumbar stenosis, it can only be conclusively diagnosed using an MRI or a CT scan. Once the treating physician has diagnosed and determined the severity of the condition, she has a range of treatment options to choose from, including medications to reduce inflammation, cortisone injections, and in the most severe cases where patients do not improve with other treatment methods, surgery, as noted by Spine-Health.

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