Chronic low back pain and radiating discomfort down one or both legs could indicate the presence of an injury or condition, such as lumbar stenosis. Spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine commonly develops with age, characterized as the narrowing the spinal canal in the lower back. When this reduction in the vertebrae occurs, extra pressure is placed on the nerves and the spinal cord. Because these nerves run from the lower back to the legs, leg pain, heaviness, and/or cramping may also develop.
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The spinal canal located in the lumbar spine region is the most frequent section affected by spinal stenosis. The lumbar spine comprises five vertebrae extending between the ribcage and pelvis, medically labeled from top to bottom as L1 through L5. Each of these vertebrae is properly separated by intervertebral discs, which function as shock absorbers, cushioning and distributing the pressure exerted onto the spine.
Each vertebra of the spine contains what is identified as vertebral arches, protruding arch-shaped bones which create the necessary space within the spinal bones for the spinal cord. That space is referred to as the spinal canal. When the spine’s structure is healthy and functions effectively, the spinal canal should properly protect the spinal cord, providing the necessary and safest space required to maintain overall wellness.
Individuals suffering from spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine commonly describe experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort along the lower back, hips, buttocks, and/or legs. Other prevalent signs of the condition include lower back pain that radiates down one or both buttocks, legs, and/or feet; worsening pain in the lower extremities when walking; tingling sensations or numbness in one or both legs or feet; weakness in one or both legs or feet; restricted mobility or difficulty walking; and issues controlling bladder or bowel movements, a complication which may require immediate medical care.
Sciatica, best known as a set of symptoms rather than a single condition or disorder, can be a common diagnosis for determining the presence of an issue affecting the lower spine. Sciatica symptoms include pain and discomfort, tingling sensations and numbness, burning sensations, and muscle weakness. Symptoms of sciatica can indicate a serious complication along the lumbar spine.
For individuals experiencing spinal stenosis in the upper back, referred to as cervical stenosis, the symptoms will be similar along the neck, shoulders, arms, and/or hands.
The gradual degeneration of the spine caused by the natural changes that come with age is the most common cause for the narrowing of the spinal canal, mostly due to the repetitive stress and pressure of the surrounding tissues over several years. As the spinal canal becomes narrower over time, several conditions and disorders can develop, causing the compression or impingement of the spinal cord and leading to the irritation and inflammation of the nerve roots. This process will ultimately cause symptoms to manifest along the lower back, buttocks, and/or legs.
Lumbar spinal stenosis can also be caused by the degeneration of the intervertebral discs found between each vertebra of the spine. Spinal disc shrinkage can impede the disc’s ability to properly separate the individual bones of the spine. This problem can generally lead to a much more severe lumbar disc herniation. Also, lumbar stenosis can develop if the spinal cord ligaments have expanded due to the natural wear and tear alteration of the body’s structures. Consequently, the degeneration of the vertebrae in the spine is the most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis.
When visiting a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor, for the diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis, the doctor will primarily conduct a thorough physical examination of the patient to determine the source of the issue. The doctor of chiropractic, or other healthcare specialists, may also extensively review the individual’s medical history, referring them to receive other necessary or additional X-rays or MRI scans. By examining the patient’s symptoms and analyzing the test results, a chiropractor can diagnose the individual’s injury or condition to discuss the best possible treatment options for you, including a thorough discussion of the benefits and risks of each option. Finally, the healthcare professional and patient can decide on the preferred treatment procedure to begin rehabilitation and restore their original health and wellness.
Chiropractic focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing injuries and/or conditions of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. A chiropractor may commonly utilize spinal adjustments and manual manipulations to carefully correct any misalignments in the spine that may be causing the impingement or compression of the spinal nerves. The chiropractic adjustments can help decrease the stress and pressure placed against the structures and other tissues of the spine, reducing the symptoms of pain and discomfort associated with spinal stenosis along the different regions of the spine. Furthermore, the chiropractor may recommend a series of stretches and exercises according to the individual’s complications to speed up the rehabilitation process and help them regain their original strength, flexibility, and mobility.
If other forms of treatment are required to treat the individual’s injuries and/or conditions, the healthcare specialist will refer the patient to other professionals for treatment. A modification of the patient’s physical activities may be recommended as well. Other healthcare providers may use medications and other treatment methods or techniques, including physical therapy, to help improve the symptoms. While many individuals may try several conservative treatments to solve the issue, a healthcare provider may refer the patient to the appropriate doctor for treatment if the individual’s condition is severe enough to require spinal surgery.
Low back pain is a common symptom frequently reported among the general population. From the wide variety of injuries and/or conditions responsible for the symptoms, the degeneration of the spinal vertebrae can be a common factor for complications in the lower back. Lumbar spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal, frequently develops with age and can be a common source of low back pain.
After being involved in an automobile accident, the sheer force of the impact can cause damage or injury to the body, primarily to the structures surrounding the spine. An auto collision can ultimately affect the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other tissues surrounding the spine, commonly the lumbar region of the spine, causing symptoms such as low back pain. Sciatica is a common set of symptoms after an automobile accident, which may require immediate medical attention to determine its source and follow through with treatment.
The information herein on "Low Back Pain Caused by Lumbar Spinal Stenosis" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
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