Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal in your lower back is narrowed. This narrowing puts pressure on the nerves causing pain. At Pain & Spine Specialists, our doctors specialize in Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Our team of doctors is well-trained and experienced in treating such conditions.

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a medical condition that narrows the spinal canal in your lower back. This narrowing puts pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine to your legs and arms. The less space within your spine, the greater the chance for your nerves to become damaged. Your nerves tend to become irritated or compressed which can then lead to spinal stenosis sciatica which causes pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in your legs, arms, neck, or lower back.

Thoracic spinal stenosis, on the other hand, is a medical condition that narrows the spinal canal in your upper and middle back. This can put pressure that will irritate the nerve roots.

At Pain & Spine Specialists, we offer comprehensive treatment options for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Our goal is to help you find relief from your pain and get back to your life as soon as possible.

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A graphic showing the effects of lumbar spinal stenosis on the spine

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE this office. I was helping my mom find a place for her arthritis pain, and I explained to them how bad it was. They were able to schedule me the same week! That's almost impossible at any doctor's office...and then add COVID..... I was thrilled. I took my mom, and everyone was absolutely so sweet and kind

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Dr. Rao. I can't find the words to tell you how much he has meant to me. I followed him from an old practice to his very new high tech office. They offer so many different areas of assistance to those with issues from nutrition to spinal surgery...and much more. His office is professional.

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Dr. Roa is such an amazing doctor! During my first visit he never tried to rush through my appt., he genuinely listened to all my concerns and then took his time to explain to me in detail all his recommendations and how they would help me.

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In the 3 years as a patient of Dr. Rao, it is my opinion that he is a phenomenal and extraordinary doctor. He keeps up to date with the latest treatment options, will sacrifice time no matter how many are in the waiting room to listen and explain. Dr. Rao has treated multiple patients with rare illnesses, and shows more empathy than any Dr. I’ve met.

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

What exactly is lumbar spinal stenosis?

For someone who is experiencing pain in the lower back or neck, you might be thinking that it is a common issue and that it will just eventually go away on its own. Unfortunately, this might not be the case if you are living with lumbar spinal stenosis.

While lumbar spinal stenosis takes place in the neck or the lower back, symptoms vary depending on where the compression is taking place. Generally, symptoms might not show up until later on in life as the canal gradually narrows over time. However, there are some cases in which symptoms might show up earlier due to an injury or traumatic event.

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis on the Neck

  • Pain in the lower back is the most obvious and noticeable symptom when it comes to lumbar spinal stenosis. This pain might come and go or it could be a constant dull ache.
  • Sciatica is the pain that takes place in the buttocks which can extend down the leg.
  • Numbness and tingling can also be a sign of compressed nerves. It is a pin-like sensation that might feel like your foot has fallen asleep.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control in severe cases can also be observed.

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis on the Lower Back

  • Neck pain
  • Numbness and tingling in the arm, hand, leg, or foot
  • Weakness in the arm or leg area
  • Having trouble balancing
A  MRI view of a spine effected by Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Causes

 

When it comes to what causes lumbar spinal stenosis, the answer is not always clear. In some cases, it may be the result of degenerative changes in the spine that occur with aging. These changes can include the development of bone spurs or the thickening of ligaments. In other cases, lumbar spinal stenosis may be the result of a congenital condition, such as a narrow spinal canal. Here are some of the most common causes of lumbar spinal stenosis:

Bone Overgrowth

The vertebrae are made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and cartilage. The vertebral bodies are the largest bones in the spine and they house the spinal cord. The vertebral bodies can become overgrown, which causes them to press on the spinal cord. In most cases, this is caused by an abnormality of the bone growth plate.

This type of stenosis is typically seen in older patients and is often seen in people who have osteoporosis or other conditions that cause bone loss.

Herniated Disc

Herniated discs are a common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis because they can compress the spinal cord as it passes through the narrow canal formed by the vertebrae. In most cases, this type of herniation occurs from excessive pressure from sitting or standing for long periods of time without moving around enough to allow proper blood flow to your lower back area and legs. People who sit a lot at work (for example) may be more likely to develop degenerative disc disease than those who exercise regularly and move around frequently throughout their day.

Congenital Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

This type of condition is where a person is born with a small spinal canal. It is a congenital abnormality that can be passed down in families. An abnormally shaped spine, called scoliosis, can also cause narrowing of the spinal canal. Thus anyone with scoliosis is at risk of developing spinal stenosis.

Spinal Cysts or Tumors

Tumors and cysts are rare causes of lumbar spinal stenosis. If a tumor or cyst compresses the spinal canal, symptoms may include back pain, and weakness, loss of sensation, or numbness in one leg.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries can affect multiple levels of the spine and cause narrowing of the spinal canal. The most common injury that causes stenosis is a fracture of one or more vertebrae in the back. Other possible injuries include dislocation, a subluxation (partial separation), and ligament damage.


Who Commonly Gets Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

This type of condition is more common in older adults, however, it can occur at any age. Lumbar spinal stenosis is most often seen in people over the age of 50 as they are more prone to the wear and tear of the spine that can lead to this condition.


Is Spinal Stenosis Hereditary

Yes. Spinal stenosis is highly hereditary. This is because if your family has a history of scoliosis, arthritis, or other conditions that can lead to this condition, you are more likely to develop it as well. According to the National Library of Medicine, the heritability of this case is 66.9%.


How Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Is Diagnosed

Once you visit our clinic, the first step in diagnosing lumbar spinal stenosis is to obtain a complete medical history and perform a physical examination. Here are some of the tests and procedures that may be used to diagnose if you have lumbar spinal stenosis:

X-Rays

X-rays are the most common way to diagnose lumbar spinal stenosis. Our doctor takes x-rays of your back and spine, looking for signs of narrowing or degeneration in the spinal canal. X-rays can show whether there are bone spurs or arthritis in the spine.

MRI

Another test that can help diagnose lumbar spinal stenosis is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI uses radio waves and magnets to create detailed images of your body’s soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, and muscles without using harmful radiation like x-rays do. An MRI can show if there are any bulging discs or herniated discs that may be contributing to compression on nerves, which causes pain down the leg when you walk or stand up from sitting for too long.

CT Scan

The CT Scan, which is a combination of X-rays and computer technology, can show detailed images of your bones, discs, and other tissues. Our lumbar spinal stenosis doctors in Maryland use CT scans to see if there is any narrowing of the spinal canal or if there are any bone spurs that might be pressing on nerves.

Myelogram

A myelogram is an X-ray of the spinal cord after a dye is injected into the space around it. The dye makes it easier to see the spinal cord and nerves.

A Lumbar spine model

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment Maryland

Treatments may vary depending on the severity of the condition. For mild cases of lumbar spinal stenosis, our doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications and physical therapy. If any of these conservative treatments do not relieve your symptoms, another popular lumbar spinal stenosis treatment in Maryland is steroid injections to help you relieve the pain and reduce inflammation through a series of injections near the spine.

For moderate to severe cases of lumbar spinal stenosis, our doctor may recommend surgery as the best treatment option. The most common type of surgery for this condition is a laminectomy, which is also called decompressive surgery. This procedure involves removing portions of the bone, bony growths on disks that are pressing on nerves (bone spurs), and other tissues that may be crowding the spinal canal to take pressure off the spinal cord and nerves.


Treatment for Spinal Stenosis in Elderly

Treatment approaches for lumbar spinal stenosis may vary depending on the age of the patient. For instance, surgery may not always be the best option for older adults because they may be at a higher risk for complications. In these cases, our doctors may recommend more conservative treatment options such as physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatory medications. More often, elderly patients are advised to decrease physically demanding activities, lose weight, and avoid prolonged standing or walking for long periods.


Schedule a Consultation

If you are experiencing any back pain or leg pain that limits your ability to perform your daily activities, it is best to consult with our doctors to better understand your condition to determine whether you have lumbar spinal stenosis. Our board-certified Maryland pain management doctors offer comprehensive and compassionate care to design a treatment plan that is best for you. Schedule a consultation today!

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Specialists

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of spinal stenosis specialists are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to exceptional and compassionate care. 

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At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 

Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 


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