Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates | Santa Rosa, CA

What Are the Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Approximately 200,000 people in the United States suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis. This debilitating condition can severely impact a person’s ability to engage in various activities. It is vital to recognize the symptoms to determine if you, too, are suffering from it. Here is what you should know.

What Is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis is the medical term that describes a condition in your lower back (known as the lumbar region) where your spinal canal narrows. As is often the case, when any part of your spinal cord is compressed, pain ensues.

What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?

The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is age. Like other parts of our body, the degeneration process is natural. In the case of lumbar spinal stenosis, that natural degeneration process can lead to thicker spine ligaments, enlarged joints between the spinal bones, and the formation of bone spurs. These changes can gradually constrict the available space for your spinal cord and nerves. Herniated discs, slipping vertebrae, or spinal injuries can also contribute to lumbar spinal stenosis.

3 Typical Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

The three most common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are those related to nerve compression. Moreover, they can vary in severity, ranging from dull to sharp pain that may worsen when standing or walking and improve when sitting or bending forward. These symptoms include:

  • Radiating leg pain: This iconic symptom is pain that radiates from your lumbar region to your buttocks and down your legs.
  • Tingling or numbness: The sensation of pins and needles in your legs, feet, or buttocks.
  • Muscular weakness: Affecting your legs or feet, this weakness impacts your ability to walk or stand for long periods.

Other symptoms like lower back pain may be present and can vary in severity from mild to severe.

Conditions Presenting Similar Symptoms To Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Since several other common conditions present symptoms similar to lumbar spinal stenosis, it is crucial that you get an accurate diagnosis. Conditions that share some common symptoms with lumbar spinal stenosis include:

  • Sciatica: Typically caused by a herniated disc or bone spur.
  • Degenerative disc disease: When the cushions between the vertebrae start to degenerate.
  • Peripheral neuropathy: Damage to the peripheral nerves, commonly associated with diabetes.
  • Spondylolisthesis: A slipped vertebra.
  • Spinal osteoarthritis: This can also lead to a narrowing around the spinal cord.
  • Acute muscle strain: this can often mimic some lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms.

Uncover the Source of Your Back Pain

If you believe that you are suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis, contact our team at Redwood Orthopaedic Associates in Santa Rosa, CA, as soon as possible. Our team will be able to conduct tests and evaluate your symptoms. We can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and start you on a treatment plan to help you find relief. Call our office now at 707-544-3400 to schedule a consultation.

Posted in: Lumbar Spine Treatments

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