Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/26/2021

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition in which either the spinal canal (central stenosis) or vertebral foramen (foraminal stenosis) becomes narrowed in the lumbar spine of the low back, leading to compression of the spinal nerves.

Signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include pain in the lower back and legs, thighs, and/or buttocks. Other associated symptoms can include

  • weakness,
  • numbness,
  • pain,
  • a sensation of tingling or burning (pins and needles), and
  • loss of sensation in the legs.

Pain may be made worse with walking or standing and relieved by resting.

Causes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis), but other causes can include tumors, infection, and certain metabolic bone disorders.

Other lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms and signs

  • Loss of Sensation in the Legs
  • Numbness
  • Pain in the Lower Back and Legs, Thighs, and/or Buttocks
  • Pain May Worsen with Walking or Standing and Relieved by Resting
  • Pain
  • Sensation of Tingling or Burning (Pins and Needles)
  • Weakness


Nearly everyone has low back pain at some time during their life. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.