Frequently Asked Questions About Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
LSS is a condition where the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord nerves in your lower back.
As we age, the natural wear and tear on our spine can lead to a number of contributing factors that cause the narrowing of the spinal canal — thickening of liagment tissue, formation of excess bone (osteoarthritis) or bulging of the discs.
LSS is a common condition, with more than 1.2 million patients diagnosed and treated nationwide each year.1 Onset of this condition generally occurs after the age of 50, and the likelihood increases as we age. LSS affects all types of people, including those who have healthy and active lifestyles.
1 Longitudinal Medicare Database, Quorum Consulting.
LSS is an age-related degenerative process that is difficult to prevent. However, regular exercise, flexibility, healthy body weight, good posture, and not smoking may slow the progression of LSS.
Common symptoms of LSS include:
- Pain or numbness in your lower back when standing upright.
- Pain, numbness or tingling in your upper legs or buttocks when you walk.
- Relief of discomfort when you bend forward at the waist or sit down.
In addition to taking a medical history that includes a list of your symptoms, other tests may be performed to verify your condition. These may include:
- Physical examination to test standing time, walking distance, and limitations in mobility
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scan (computed tomography), or X-ray
- Myelogram (spinal canal X-ray)
LSS is a condition that will not get better on its own. If left untreated, the symptoms will gradually worsen over time.
There are conservative nonsurgical treatment options to treat LSS, but they may only provide short-term relief because they do not treat the underlying cause of the symptoms and a surgical decompression procedure may be required. Fortunately, there is a minimally invasive decompression procedure called mild® that treats the underlying cause of LSS symptoms through a very small incision (about the size of a baby aspirin). This procedure can be performed in about an hour and most patients go home the same day. No general anesthesia, stitches or implants are required.