A common symptom of spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, is leg pain and weakness. This is especially true if the spinal stenosis is in the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine. People who have lumbar spinal stenosis may experience local pain in the lower back, as well as radiating pain down the buttock and leg.
Severe cases cause the pain to travel to the foot of the affected side. If a nerve in the lumbar spine is compressed as a result of this condition, you may experience weakness or tingling in your leg as the compressed nerve struggles to send signals to the muscles in your leg and foot. Read on to learn about the side effects of lumbar spinal stenosis and the importance of obtaining an accurate diagnosis.
Leg Weakness is a Common Spinal Stenosis Symptom
Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common form of spinal stenosis because the lumbar spine carries the most stress. The lumbar portion of your spine is the lowest section of vertebrae in your back. The main function of the lumbar is to carry the weight of the body while stabilizing and allowing for flexibility in the spine.
Over the years, as the body increases in weight and the pressure on the lumbar spine grows, parts of the spine may start to gradually deteriorate. This could cause bulging or herniated discs that shrink the space between the walls of the spinal canal and cord. If the walls continue to narrow, a nerve in the spinal cord might become compressed.
This is the main reason why lumbar spinal stenosis and leg weakness often coincide. When a nerve in the lumbar spine is compressed, it often sends waves of pain to the local extremities. In this case, that would be the leg and foot on the impacted side.
The Importance of a Proper Diagnosis
Spinal stenosis can be caused by anything from natural aging and deterioration to other spine conditions causing the spinal canal to narrow. For this reason, you must consult a doctor and schedule an MRI review to determine the cause of your spinal stenosis. Once you determine what is causing your spinal canal to narrow, you can decide which treatment option is best for your needs. Additionally, the symptoms of spinal stenosis are very similar to several other spine conditions. A doctor will have to determine whether or not your symptoms are being caused by spinal stenosis before a treatment plan can be created.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with lumbar spinal stenosis and your neck or back pain does not lessen after you try conservative treatments like pain medication, chiropractic care, and physical therapy for several weeks or months, you may be a candidate for surgery.
At BEST Health System, our minimally invasive procedures offer safer and more effective alternatives to traditional open spine surgery. To relieve spinal stenosis, our board-certified surgeons use small incisions that are muscle-sparing to remove the damaged disc or vertebra. They then insert an implant into its space to stabilize the spine.
Treatment with Dr. Keith Girton
At the BEST Cincinnati location, Dr. Keith Girton is our board-certified spine surgeon specializing in minimally invasive procedures. His goal is to help patients find the least invasive, most effective treatment option. Dr. Keith Girton is proud to work with BEST and introduce the new standard of healthcare to the Cincinnati community. Contact BEST today to learn more about surgery with Dr. Keith Girton.