As we grow older our spine changes, often leading to the degeneration of the vertebrae, or the bones of the spine.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a neurologic condition in which the bony structure of the spinal column narrows and this narrowing compresses the nerves leaving the spine.

This compression of the roots of the nerves in the spinal canal is often due to bony spurs and disc deterioration, is sometimes associated with scoliosis and arthritis, and tends to worsen with advancing age.

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What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms specific to lumbar spinal stenosis are usually related to the inability to walk a distance or stand for any prolonged period of time. The medical term for this weakness in the legs and difficulty walking is neurogenic claudication.

For most people, this is usually a slowly progressive symptom that develops over months or years. There may be associated pain located in the back that can exceed the leg pain in severity, or it may be masked by the intensity of pain in the legs.

How is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?

Doctors can find the cause of your pain in a few ways. A common method of diagnosis is to perform a MRI or a CAT scan. Medical professionals may also perform an x-ray, a myelogram or a bone scan. The results of the tests will help Dr. Ahuja identify what the best treatment should be.

What Kinds of Treatment Are Available?

If you feel your health deteriorating, then actively seeking diagnosis and medical care should be your next step. Initial nonsurgical treatments include medications such as anti-inflammatory medications, nerve medications and mild pain medication.

Unfortunately, these medications may treat some of the symptoms but they will not halt the progression of the condition. Exercises and different physical therapies can also provide some positive outcomes for pain relief and pain management.

Depending on how severe your case is, your physician can control the symptoms with an epidural steroid injection (ESI) in which a combination of steroids and an anesthetic is injected into the area around the spinal nerves. But often, surgery to remove pressure from the spinal nerves is required.

This procedure is referred to as a decompressive lumbar laminectomy. Your doctor will surgically remove a portion of the bony structure called the lamina to allow more room for the nerves. Removing the lamina usually has a quick effect on the ability to walk and stand.

The patient can usually return home from the hospital in 2-3 days, with recovery in about 4 weeks.