Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing in one or more areas of the spinal canal as a result of injury to or deterioration in the discs, joints, ligaments, or bones within the spinal canal.
Most cases of spinal stenosis develop later in life as a result of degenerative changes that occur in the spine. Osteoarthritis is the main cause of spinal stenosis, as it initiates the deterioration of the cartilage in the area, resulting in the bones rubbing against each other and forming bone spurs. Spinal stenosis can also be caused by a herniated disc, ligament changes, or spinal tumors.
Patients with spinal stenosis may experience cramping, pain, and numbness in the legs, back, typically with standing and walking. A loss of sensation, loss of balance, and heaviness in the legs are common symptoms. Patients’ symptoms are usually relieved by sitting.
Dr. Lutz manages most cases of spinal stenosis with image-guided injections of anti-inflammatory medication into the narrowed portion of the spinal canal. This treatment does not change the bony diameter of the canal, but may change the soft-tissue diameter by decreasing swelling of the nerves, joint capsules, and ligaments. While these treatments are often very effective, they usually have to be repeated at regular intervals (6 months) to keep people active. These injections coupled with a spinal rehabilitation program to increase flexibility and core strength are our best non-surgical options for this condition.
Most cases of spinal stenosis can be effectively treated through conservative methods such as physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, and a back brace. For more severe cases, surgical procedures such as a decompressive laminectomy, laminotomy, or fusion may be required to relieve pressure and join the damaged bone back to its normal state. Dr. Lutz aims to intervene early with regenerative treatments in the hopes of preventing this disabling condition.