Spinal Stenosis is a condition in which there is a narrowing of the spinal canal leading to compression of the nerves which leads to persistent pain and tingling numbness in the buttocks, legs. Lumbar canal stenosis can be either degenerative (most common) or congenital. Degenerative (Acquired) lumbar stenosis is more common and develops when patients are in their 50s or older. The common condition leading to the narrowing of the lumbar canal are bony spurs, herniated disc, sequestrated disc and spondylolisthesis. Rare causes include tumor, infection, and fracture. Congenital lumbar stenosis is relatively rare and presents at an early age, often between 30 and 40.
Dull to severe aching pain in the lower back or buttocks when walking or doing other activities. Pain radiating into one or both thighs and legs Numbness, weakness or paresthesia involving the lower extremities Symptoms relieved by bending forward, sitting or lying down Pain relievers tend to be inefficient.
The treatment of lumbar canal stenosis varies according to a severity of the condition.
Conservative: Patients presenting with mild, on and off pain can be considered for conservative management. These include analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy exercises to develop good trunk stabilisation along with good aerobic fitness.
Surgical: Patients with severe pain in the back along with lower limb radiculopathy are candidates for surgery. The primary determining factors for surgery are pain leading to restricted lifestyle and failure of conservative management. Surgery helps to gets rid of the pain but in long term patients, lifestyle modifications are necessary so as to prevent the recurrence of the disease. Surgery for lumbar canal stenosis does not lead to paralysis. The surgical treatment delayed for long period affects the outcome of surgery.
The surgical treatment includes removal of pressure on the nerve which is done by laminectomy. The surgery is done via endoscopic methods. All the patients are allowed to walk on the same day of surgery after 6 hours. The patient is discharged next day after the surgery. Hence the surgery for lumbar canal stenosis is a day care surgery in which the patient is mobilised and discharged in one day of surgery.
How to prevent spinal stenosis:
We at Shanta spine institute believes in prevention is better than cure, so we keep our main emphasis on prevention of the disease more than the treatment. The main cause of lumbar canal stenosis is aging process and unhealthy lifestyle. So we aim to prevent the disease by certain lifestyle modifications which had to be followed regularly. This includes daily 1 hour of exercise, healthy diet which includes lots of fruits and salads, 4-5 litres of water daily and to maintain weight which is normal according to your height and age. The exercise program like swimming, yoga, walking jogging etc helps to develop core strength and allows us to maintain strength and flexibility of the spine. Lifestyle modifications such as quitting tobacco chewing, smoking cigarette and alcohol is also very important.
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- Vivek Madhukar Puradbhat
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