Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Experience

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What is the lumbar spine, and what is lumbar spinal stenosis?

The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebral bodies in the lower back. Nerves coming off the spinal cord travel though the spinal canal and exit the canal through small openings on the sides of the vertebrae called foramina (singular = foramen). These nerves transmit sensations from the buttocks and lower extremities through the spinal cord to the brain and transmit motor signals from the brain to the lower extremities to produce movement of the legs, toes, and joints of the lower extremities.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition whereby either the spinal canal (central stenosis) or one or more of the vertebral foramina (foraminal stenosis) becomes narrowed. If the narrowing is substantial, it causes compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves, which causes the painful symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, including low back pain, buttock pain, and leg pain and numbness that is made worse with walking and relieved by resting.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: NAck, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

I developed pain in my legs while walking, about 4 or 5 years ago and went to a prompt care facility. They said I had classic arthritis and put me on the lowest dose of meloxicam which I continued with until recently. The pain has gotten much worse recently so I made an appointment with my primary physician with the intent of upping my medication. He asked me some questions and said he doesn't think I have arthritis and ordered me an MRI and made a follow-up appointment with a spine specialist. He strongly suspects lumbar spinal stenosis with claudication or something or other. Anyway, my journey begins.

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Comment from: Justice, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 09

Spinal stenosis is a miserable disease. When my doctor first informed me that I had it, I asked him what kinds of exercises I can do to make it better. I was in great shape. I was an avid hiker and had climbed a lot of mountains. I could carry a 30 lb. pack, my rifle plus a western style strap on 22 magnum Colt and ammunition plus a canteen, up any hill in sight of my city. Then my back started to hurt toward the end of my hike and after a few months I was having trouble in the middle of my hike and soon I was just walking around my neighborhood. I was taking long breaks and resting, thinking I had just pulled something. That is called denial. My doctor said exercising makes it worse. I have had it now for about ten years and a shopping trip will put me in bed some days. I have had shots and was addicted to morphine for a couple of years. I applied for disability because I could not walk to my car on some days. If you have been diagnosed with this disease don't get into narcotics to kill the pain. You will wind up with another problem that will ruin your life. Get help from a specialist in stenosis right now, before it gets worse. Try epidurals without narcotics in the injection and take OTC medicines or those that are anti-inflammatory medicines. Get ready for back braces and pain. Take it easy when you are in pain and hope they find something that is a sure cure. Nothing out there is a sure cure. Just don't get on pain medicines that have opiates in them.

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