Your spine, or backbone, protects your spinal cord and nerves and allows you to stand and bend. Lumbar spinal stenosis causes narrowing in the spine of the lower back. The narrowing can put pressure on your nerves and spinal cord and can cause pain and nerve damage.
Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs mostly in people older than 50. Younger people with a spine injury or a narrow spinal canal also are at risk. Diseases such as arthritis and scoliosis can worsen spinal stenosis.
Symptoms might appear rapidly, gradually or not at all. They include:
- Pain in your back
- Pain going down the leg
- Numbness, weakness, or cramping of your legs
- Bowel and bladder problems, in severe cases
Doctors diagnose lumbar spinal stenosis with a physical exam and imaging tests. Treatments include medications, physical therapy, braces and surgery.
Source: NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Learn more about brain and spine neurological conditions at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Why choose Ohio State for treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis?
Multidisciplinary Team: When you come to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Spine Center, we determine the source of your pain, accurately diagnose the severity of your condition and choose which least-invasive treatment approach will restore you to the highest level of function possible.
Among the experts at our Comprehensive Spine Center are:
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians
- Physical therapists
- Spine surgeons with neurosurgical and orthopedic training
- Pain specialists/anesthesiologists
Comprehensive Care: We offer many options for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. For most patients, surgery is not necessary. But if your quality of life is compromised, our spine surgeons can address the most challenging surgical cases, assisting people who have not found help elsewhere.
Physical Therapy Expertise: Our physical therapists specialize in spine conditions, working with you one-on-one to alleviate pain and to improve balance, strength and coordination.
Surgical Expertise: If your stenosis has progressed and requires surgery to protect your spinal cord and nerves, we have spine surgeons who are fellowship-trained in complex spine surgeries. We perform more complex spine surgeries than any other medical center in central Ohio.
Research: You will benefit from our involvement in national and international trials that provide you with the most current treatment methods for lumbar spinal stenosis.
Spine Center Registry: Through Ohio State’s Comprehensive Spine Center registry, we track our patients’ outcomes, including physical function and quality of life, and compare these to national and international results to help us select the most effective treatment methods.
Cindy's back to pain-free
For years Cindy suffered from severe back pain. She was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which causes pressure on the nerves of the spine.Once she visited Stephanus Viljoen, MD, a neurosurgeon specializing in spine disorders at Ohio State, Cindy has new lease on life.
Getting back to normal
For years, Dick suffered from severe pain in his back and legs. He decided to visit Safdar Khan, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Ohio State. Dr. Khan diagnosed him with severe spinal stenosis, a condition that causes pressure on the nerves of the spine, and recommended surgery to reduce his pain. Today, Dick is pain-free; he’s back to enjoying life with his wife and cheering on his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes football team.
Sarah's spinal fusion story
Until she met Safdar Kahn, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Ohio State, Sarah struggled with severe back pain. She could no longer garden, travel or even walk her dog. Sarah had spinal stenosis. She underwent spinal fusion surgery with Dr. Khan. Now Sarah is pain-free, active and back to doing the things she loves.