Lumbar Stenosis (cont.)

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What are risk factors for lumbar spinal stenosis?

The major risk factor for lumbar spinal stenosis is aging because it is associated with degeneration of the spine. Another, less common risk factor is osteoporosis as it can lead to compression fracture of the lumbar vertebrae that results in lumbar spinal stenosis.

What are the signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis can cause

In most situations, the symptoms improve when the patient is sitting or leaning forward. Typically, painful sensations shoot down the legs with continued walking and diminish with resting. This particular activity-related symptom is sometimes referred to as pseudoclaudication because it mimics the true claudication of poor circulation from peripheral vascular disease. Standing and bending backward can make the symptoms worse. This is because bending forward increases the space in the spinal canal and vertebral foramina, while bending backward decreases this space. It is therefore more comfortable for patients to sit or lean forward. Patients are frequently unable to walk for long distances and often state that their symptoms are improved when bending forward while walking with the support of a walker or shopping cart.

The symptoms commonly worsen with time. This is because degenerative arthritis is a progressive disease that gradually becomes more severe with time. If left untreated, the compression on the nerves from lumbar spinal stenosis can lead to increasing weakness and loss of function of the legs. It can also lead to loss of bowel and bladder control and loss of sexual function.

Your doctor can help determine if your symptoms are from lumbar spinal stenosis or a different condition. Many other disorders can cause similar symptoms that mimic lumbar spinal stenosis including

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/5/2014

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with lumbar spinal stenosis.
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