Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Symptoms

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What were the symptoms of your lumbar spinal stenosis?

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What are the signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis can cause

  • low back pain,
  • weakness, numbness, pain, and loss of sensation in the legs.

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. 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

  • diabetic neuropathy,
  • peripheral vascular disease,
  • vascular claudication.
Return to Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

See what others are saying

Comment from: Me, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I was just diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis (L1 - L5). Because of my age surgery has not been an option, I had a neck fusion of C4, C5, C6, and C7 with plates and rods. Now I'm looking at C2 and C3 going bad because of the prior neck fusion. I have lost 1 inch in height. My pain management is reclining in recliner, tramadol and Flexeril, I just started Neurontin and it has been great for my pain. I had to quit taking Tylenol due to liver problems. I'm 42 and can't live alone, need to depend on others to care for me.

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Comment from: geogio, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: March 14

I wonder if lumbar spinal stenosis can affect one leg only; I have no numbness, just pain in buttock and tingling that shoots down below knee and to the large toe in the right leg only. My physiotherapist says I have stenosis and my chiropractor says I have piriformis. This pain started in my lower back one night after butterfly swimming.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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