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The lower back is a common place to experience pain and discomfort. The lumbar spine is located in your lower back. The bones align to form the spine. Aging, arthritis, and degenerative conditions can cause the bones to change shape and narrow the areas where the spinal cord and nerves travel through, causing spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause lower back, buttock, and leg pain. The majority of people with spinal stenosis find symptom relief and improved function with pain management, including medications, therapy, and back bracing for support. Epidural steroid injections place pain relieving and anti-inflammatory medication directly at the source of the pain.
Pain management is helpful for many people. However, pain management treatments cannot correct the structural changes and narrowing in the spine. For a small percentage of people with spinal stenosis, surgery may be necessary.
Am I at Risk
Spinal stenosis is more common in people over the age of 50 because of “wear and tear” on the spine associated with the aging process. Spinal stenosis can occur in younger people that are born with a narrowed spinal canal. Certain medical conditions can lead to spinal stenosis, including:
• Arthritis, especially a type of degenerative arthritis called osteoarthritis, can lead to abnormal growths in the spine (bone spurs), as well as disc and facet joint degeneration.
• Spondylolisthesis, a spine condition, results when one vertebra slips forward on another, causing the spinal canal to narrow.
• Acquired spinal stenosis is caused by spinal tumors or abnormal soft tissue growths that extend into the spinal canal or cause swelling.
• Acquired spinal stenosis can also develop when a spinal ligament ossifies.
Ligaments are strong connective tissues that connect bones and joints together. Ossification occurs when calcium deposits form on a ligament and turn it into bone. At the lumbar spine, the posterior longitudinal ligament can cause spinal stenosis if it ossifies and presses on the nerves in the spinal canal.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.