Lumbar Stenosis Overview  

Lumbar stenosis means narrowing of the spine in the lumbar (lower back) area.  Stenosis is a medical term for narrowing, which can occur in the central spinal canal (the middle portion of the spine that contains all the nerve roots in the lower lumbar spine) or the lateral recess or foreamens (which contains individual nerve roots)

Causes

Many of the lumbar stenosis cases we see Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville, Duncanville and throughout the DFW metroplex occur as a result of degenerative changes that is a combination of heredity, age and daily wear and tear.

Other causes can include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis
  • Congenital Stenosis
  • Spinal Tumors

The constellation of anatomic structures that cause lumbar stenosis are when the connective tissues called the ligamentum flavum get thicker, then facet joint disease called osteoarthritis leads to growth of bony spurs that push on the spine and then finally the intervertebral discs can push backwards into the spinal canal.

Symptoms

  • Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in the legs, feet, or buttocks. These symptoms get worse when you walk, stand straight, or lean backward. The pain gets better when you sit down or lean forward.
  • Stiffness in the legs and thighs.
  • Low back pain.
  • In severe cases, loss of bladder and bowel control

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is first inferred from the history and physical examination that your doctor will first perform.  Plain x-rays will often show disc space narrowing as well as facet arthritis or enlargement.  An MRI scan or at times a CT myelogram in patients who cannot have an MRI will be used to complete the diagnosis and identify the exact levels and amount of compression. These diagnosis procedures can be scheduled with any of our expert spine surgeons at any of our office locations conveniently located to Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville.

Conservative Treatment

  • Physical therapy and/or exercises to help relieve pressure on the nerve root(s)
  • Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to help reduce swelling and pain
  • Epidural steroid injections to reduce swelling in and around the nerves to decrease acute pain that radiates to the buttocks or down the legs

Surgical Treatment

  • Lumbar Laminectomy
  • XLIF- Extreme Lumbar Interbody Fusion

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