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Lumbar spinal stenosis describes the narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back. The spinal canal runs through the back of each vertebra (individual bone segment) in your backbone, allowing the spinal cord to pass through the bone. When the canal narrows, pressure is put on the spinal cord and the nerves that branch off from it.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is not life threatening. However, you can experience significant disability from severe spinal stenosis. Find a Doctor at Dignity Health North State for proper diagnosis and treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis in Northern California.
You may or may not experience symptoms of lumbar stenosis. When they do occur, common signs and symptoms include:
Your Dignity Health North State doctor may advise you to sit and lean forward to experience temporary relief from spinal stenosis symptoms. This position creates more space within the spinal canal.
Arthritis and degenerative disc disease are the two most common causes of lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal arthritis describes the breakdown of protective cartilage in the joints that connect your vertebrae. Degenerative disk disease is the drying and shrinking of spinal discs that cushion your vertebrae.
Both of these conditions can lead to new bone growth (bone spurs), which can narrow the spinal canal. Age is the biggest risk factor for arthritis and degenerative disc disease — 95 percent of people experience degenerative changes in their spine by age 50. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in people over the age of 60.
Treatment strategies for spinal stenosis aim to relieve your symptoms and prevent or limit disability.
Initially, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical approaches, such as physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and anti-inflammatory medicines. These treatments can provide relief from painful symptoms and improve lost function and mobility.
Underlying causes of spinal stenosis are typically treated with surgery. However, your doctor may hold off on recommending surgical intervention unless your symptoms are severe and interfere with your quality of life.
We are committed to providing high-quality health care in our communities. Learn more about the values that drive Dignity Health North State’s orthopedic services and how we can help you take charge of your health.
Dignity Health North State delivers advanced care for patients experiencing back problems, including lumbar spinal stenosis, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.