You want to stand tall and proud, but, these days, being upright has become painful, and the discomfort is only relieved when you hunch forward or sit back down. This could be a sign of lumbar spinal stenosis, which affects about 11% of older adults in the United States.
There are many paths to chronic back pain, and spinal stenosis is among the more common. If you want to figure out whether lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) might be the culprit behind your discomfort, Dr. Sachida Manocha and the team here at Interventional Pain Center take a closer look at this condition below.
Not enough space
The reason why LSS is found in older adults is because the condition is due to degenerative changes in the lower back. More specifically, over time and due to wear-and-tear, several things can occur along your lumbar spine, including:
- Degeneration in your discs, which can lead to herniated discs
- The formation of bone spurs
- Thickening of your spinal ligament
The word, “stenosis,” is derived from a Greek word that means, “narrow,” which is what happens when one (or more) of these conditions develops — there’s a narrowing in your spinal canal.
As a result, one or more of the five lumbar nerve pairs and the five pairs of sacral nerves that travel through and exit your lumbar spine can become compressed or pinched.
Signs of stenosis
We began this blog with a description of one of the more telltale signs of LSS — pain in your lower back when you stand up straight. Again, this pain can often be relieved if you tilt forward or sit down, which takes the pressure off the affected nerve in your lower back.
While the localized back pain is enough to get your attention, the nerve compression can also lead to radiculopathy. With this condition, you experience symptoms that travel down the length of the nerve — typically the sciatic nerve — into your buttocks and down to your legs, sometimes reaching as far as your feet.
These symptoms can include pain — often described as burning or shooting pain — as well as numbness and tingling. Depending upon the extent of the nerve compression, you might also experience weakness in your foot.
Standing tall again
The best way to figure out whether your chronic pain is due to LSS is to come see for an evaluation.
If we find that LSS is responsible for your symptoms, our goal is to help you stand up straight and walk again without pain. To that end, we can start with medications or interventional injections, such as nerve blocks and facet joint injections.
Once we relieve your symptoms, you can take steps to address your LSS, such as physical therapy, which can deliver longer-term relief.
If your LSS doesn’t respond to conservative measures, we can talk about other solutions, such as spinal cord stimulation or spine surgery.
But let’s not jump too far ahead here. First, we need to figure out what’s behind your lower back pain and the best way to do that is to schedule an appointment online or over the phone with the Interventional Pain Center today. We have offices in Worthington and Newark, Ohio.