Lumbar Stenosis

What is it?


    • Narrowing of the diameter of spinal canal 
    • The dx of stenosis CANNOT be made by plain films alone
      • Requires MRI or CT (with myelopgraphy) to evaluate the assess the diameter of the canal & the “functional reserve
    • Stenosis usually results in spinal cord compression and pain or radiculopathy in legs. 
    • Walking and laying flat usually irritation symptoms in legs
    • Sitting decreases pain 

Common Causes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

  1. Normal lumbar spine degeneration as a result of aging
  2. Disc herniation or bulge pushing on the spinal cord
  3. Osteoporosis, which is more common in post-menopausal women




Stenosis Can Be Classified as Either Being Central or Lateral Recess.

Flexion/Distraction therapy is one of the best ways to manage lumbar stenosis. This therapy increase the space between the vertebrae, allowing the nerves to have more space upon exiting the spine. 

  • Central canal stenosis affects multiple roots and often affects both legs.
  • Lateral recess stenosis more often affects a single nerve root and so may be difficult to distinguish from a disc herniation.
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So what do we do?

The simple answer is, live an active and healthy lifestyle. We must first learn to move correctly and then stabilize the muscles that surround the spine. 

  • We cannot change or stop degeneration.
  • We can move correctly with regards to bending and lifting in order to limit the amount of stress on a single area of the spine. 
  • Improve our diet as we age in order to fuel the body with calcium, phosphorous, and estrogen in order to keep strong health bones. 

If you don't move it, you lose it.

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