Physician Pointing to VertebraeSpinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces between the bones in the spine (vertebrae) that results in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots and can cause back pain. Lumbar stenosis can occur in the small curve of the lower back.

Spinal stenosis most often results from a gradual, degenerative aging process. Either structural changes or inflammation can begin the process.

Lumbar Stenosis Symptoms

The space within the spinal canal may narrow without producing symptoms. Some symptoms may include:

  • Numbness, weakness, cramping or general pain in the arms and legs
  • Pain radiating down the leg (sciatica)
  • Problems with bowel and bladder function in more severe cases
  • Problems with sexual function
  • Foot disorders in more severe cases

Lumbar Stenosis Treatment

Your doctor may use a variety of approaches to diagnose spinal stenosis and rule out other conditions prior to treatment.

  • Flexing exercises
  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following conservative treatments:
    • Nonsteroidal anti–inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, or indomethacin, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
    • Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, to relieve pain
    • Corticosteroid injections
    • Anesthetic injections
  • Restricted activity
  • Physical therapy
  • Lumbar brace
  • Surgery

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