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Texas Orthopedics, Sports & Rehabilitation Associates

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stenosis... What is it? How is it treated?

Low back pain is a common ailment. In fact, it is the most common cause of job-related disability resulting in missed workdays and limiting or reducing one's activities. Yet, not all back pain is alike.

In the following article, we discuss one type of low back pain called lumbar spinal stenosis.

Stenosis: What is it?

Lumbar spinal stenosis, a common cause of low back pain, occurs when the spinal canal narrows. In more severe cases, the narrowing causes compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves, which can cause painful symptoms like low pain or even pain in the legs or buttocks.

It is most often caused by arthritis - normal wear and tear as our bodies age. When the cartilage that covers and protects the joints wears away due to arthritis it can result in bone rubbing on bone. To make up for the most cartilage, the body may grow new bone in your facet joints to support the vertebrae. The spurs narrow the space for the nerves to pass resulting in terrible pain.

How is it treated?

Often times, initial treatment will be non-surgical. Physical therapy may be helpful and may be recommended along with anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication or steroid injections.

If these treatments are not successful, and you're still suffering from pain or weakness, surgery may be recommended. The two most common options include a laminectomy or spinal fusion. Be sure to discuss the advantages and disadvantages with your doctor.

Click here to see a video from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons about spinal stenonsis.

Are you suffering from low back pain? Discuss your options with one of our spine specialists. 

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