Lumbar spinal stenosis is the compression of spinal nerves caused by narrowing of the spinal canal and it is one of the common causes of low back pain. Spinal stenosis can also affect the spine in the neck region.
The symptoms include back pain, burning or aching type of pain in the buttocks that radiates to the legs (sciatica), weakness in the legs or "foot drop”. One of the causes for spinal stenosis is the ageing and other causes include Paget’s disease, achondroplasia, spinal tumors and spinal injuries. As age advances the chances of developing osteoarthritis, disc degeneration and thickening of ligaments may increase and these conditions cause spinal stenosis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis may be treated with conservative treatment approaches such as use of pain medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, or acupuncture. In chronic cases, surgery may be required to treat the condition.
Surgery is considered for patients in whom the pain and weakness is causing debilitation such as inability to walk for a long time. The two main surgical procedures to treat lumbar spinal stenosis are laminectomy and spinal fusion. Laminectomy: This procedure involves removal of the bone, bone spurs, and ligaments that compress the nerves.
Spinal fusion: In this procedure, two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together.