Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spine stenosis is a condition where the space in the lower spinal canal narrows. The spinal canal houses the spinal cord along the back. Narrowing of this space causes pain, numbness to weakness in the legs in more serious cases. In extreme cases, loss of bladder and bowel control. This condition typically affects adults over the age of 50.
Compression of the spinal cord
The pain symptoms result from the spinal cord being compressed by the narrowing spinal canal. Depending on the amount of pressure on the spinal cord, the symptoms varies. Beginning from mild pain when there is some compression to weakness in the leg when there is so much pressure that signals sent to the leg muscles are cut off. In some cases, compression of the nerves of the lumbar spinal cord can cause loss of bladder, bowel and sexual functions.
People with lumbar stenosis find a bent forward position while walking, sitting down or squatting helps relieve the pain. This position relieves some of the pressure by decompressing the compressed area. Bending backwards on the other hand increases the pain.
Why does the spinal canal narrows?
In most case, the spinal canal narrows as a result of degenerative changes in the lower back vertebrae as we age. The degenerative process causes excessive bone growth (osteophytes), ligament enlargement (ligamenteous hypertrophy), or loss of spinal disc height. This is the main reason why lumbar stenosis most commonly seen in adults over the age of 50.
What are the treatment options?
In severe cases where there is weakness in the lower limbs or loss of bladder and bowel functions, surgery is an option to immediately relieve the pressure off the nerves.
In milder cases or immediately post-surgery, rehabilitative treatment is recommended to improve posture and strength of the muscles around the lower back and abdominal region. This helps reduce the amount of compression on the spinal cord in the lower back area.
Note that even after surgery, treatment and continued self-management through exercises is important as degeneration, the primary cause, continues. As we continue to age, we continue to get more excessive bone growth, our ligaments enlarge and our spinal disc continues to loss their height.
Articles That You May Find Interesting
50 Popular Articles That You May Find Interesting
- Snapping Ankle - Physiotherapy
- Labour Epidural Cause Chronic Backache?
- The Best Exercises for Trochanteric Bursitis
- Posterior Pelvic Pain (Sacroiliac Joint Pain) in Pregnant Women
- How do I know if I have scoliosis?
- Diastasis Recti Abdominis - Conditions
- Cobb Angle and Scoliosis
- Maybe it isn't Plantar Fasciitis but Heel Fat Pad Syndrome
- What to do when your back hurts so much that you can't get out of bed?
- Multifidus - Smallest Yet Most Powerful Muscle
- Nerve Stretches
- Shoulder Pain - Frequently Asked Questions
- 'Clunking' Shoulders - Part I
- Waking up with neck pain? Find the right pillow.
- Not All Pain In the Back Is Back Pain - It Could Be Rib Pain
- MCL strain not getting better? Because it is Pes Ancerinus Tendinitis.
- Slipped Disc in Singapore - What to Do and Avoid
- Better to break a bone than to tear a ligament or tendon
- Knee Joint & Ankle Pain - Specialist Treatment in Singapore
- Acromion Clavicle Joint - Another source of shoulder pain
- Sway Back No More
- Knock Knees - Can I reverse it? (Part 1)
- Sway back posture: A leading poor posture type causing back pain
- Posterior Capsule stretches