Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes compression of the nerves in the spine. It can lead to a range of symptoms, including pain, weakness, and numbness in different parts of the body. This article outlines the causes and symptoms of spinal stenosis, along with information on diagnosis and treatment.
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Many people with lumbar spine stenosis find that they can successfully manage their condition through an easy self care program. This article presents a range of approaches an individual can take to manage lower back pain and other symptoms associated with lumbar stenosis, including exercise and staying active, pain management, posture and nutrition. Our bodies go through changes as we age.
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs through a tunnel formed by your vertebrae. The tunnel is called the spinal canal. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower part of your back. Stenosis, which means narrowing, can cause pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that go from your spinal cord to your muscles.
As we age, our spines change. These normal wear-and-tear effects of aging can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition is called spinal stenosis.
Lumbar stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, or lumbar area, characterized by radiating pain, numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet. This narrowing of the spinal canal occurs when bone or tissue, or both, grow and reduce the openings in the spinal bones, and then squeeze and irritate the spinal cord nerves. UCSF is home to one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to evaluating and treating spinal disorders, such as lumbar stenosis.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the space within the spinal canal or around the nerve roots becomes narrowed. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
Spinal stenosis, involving pressure on either the central spinal cord or nerve root exiting the spinal canal, can cause a variety of symptoms in the lower extremities. A classic symptom is that of neurogenic claudication, involving leg pain and weakness brought on by walking. The pain is relieved by sitting or lying down, not by standing and resting as would be seen in arterial insufficiency-induced claudication. Other symptoms of spinal stenosis can involve paresthesia, weakness or cramping in one or both extremities, rest pain, or burning pain, and are commonly misdiagnosed as peripheral neuropathy, especially in patients with diabetes.
If a significant overgrowth occurs, the narrowing can press on the nerves in the spine. Because the affected nerves have many functions, the condition may cause diverse problems in the lower body, including back pain, pain or numbness in the legs as well as constipation or urinary incontinence. People are more likely to develop spinal stenosis as they age. It is mostly seen in people older than