3 Signs Your Lower Back Pain is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Aug 01, 2023
3 Signs Your Lower Back Pain is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Many types of lower back pain exist, and lumbar spinal stenosis is a common culprit, especially among older populations. Here’s a look at three signs of this degenerative condition.

You used to look forward to getting out and about every day, but ongoing lower back pain has dampened your spirits and shrunk your world. There are many reasons for chronic lower back pain, and one of the most common is lumbar spinal stenosis. This degenerative condition affects 11% of older adults in the United States. 

Since it’s a leading cause of back pain, our team at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC, under the direction of Dr. Amanda Fernandez and Dr. Peter Fernandez, wants to highlight some of the signs of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) here. Let’s take a look.

Lumbar spinal stenosis basics

Before we examine the side effects of LSS, let’s take a look at what this condition entails. Stenosis is a word that means narrowing, and the narrowing, in this instance, occurs in your spinal canal. 

Degenerative changes along your spine are the culprits behind the narrowing, and these include the following:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Arthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Thickened ligaments

As a result, the nerves in your lumbar spine can become compressed or pinched. 

Recognizing the signs of lumbar spinal stenosis

The good news is that up to 80% of people with LSS do not develop any symptoms. However, for the remaining 20%, the side effects are uncomfortable. 

Here are the top three characteristics of LSS:

1. Pain in your lower back

The pain that comes with LSS can be constant, or it can flare with certain positions — often, standing straight up leads to pain, which is relieved when you bend forward a little bit.

For example, if you go to the supermarket and find that the only way to move around without pain is to lean forward on the cart, this could be a sign that you have LSS.

2. Symptoms in your buttocks and legs

The nerve compression caused by the stenosis often affects your sciatic nerve, which travels down your buttocks and into each leg. If this nerve is involved, you can feel pain, numbness, and tingling down the length of the nerve, often on one side, though it can affect both.

3. Cramping in your calves

If the muscles in your lower legs cramp up after walking only short distances, forcing you to stop and rest frequently, it could be a side effect of LSS.

If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s essential that you come to see us. After reviewing your symptoms, we’ll use advanced imaging to peek at your lumbar spine to see whether LSS is present. If it is, the good news is there are steps that we can take to restore pain-free movement.

Let’s get to the bottom of your lower back pain. To get started, please schedule an appointment at our office in Sarasota, Florida. You can call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking form.