You may have heard of spinal stenosis, which is a condition where the spinal nerves are choked or crushed. When this condition occurs in the lower back, it is known as lumbar spinal stenosis. This is a condition that Dr. Solomon Kamson deals with quite often, so he can help his patients find a treatment that works best for them.
In most patients, lumbar stenosis is first detected due to pain in the legs while they are walking. When they are at rest, the pain subsides. Some people suffer from sciatica where the pain shoots down one leg. Others feel numbness or tingling that radiates from the lower back down to the buttocks and legs. It most often appears in patients over 50 years of age.
The problem with this is that not all patients have severe pain all the time. It can come and go, and the severity of the pain can differ with each flare up. This makes it difficult to treat. The level which lumbar stenosis affects a person’s quality of life will dictate the type of treatment involved.
Usually, a doctor will not be able to properly diagnose lumbar stenosis by just doing a physical exam. He will request that an MRI or CT Scan be performed. The CT Scan will be done along with a myelogram, which involves inserting a dye into the spinal sac. After a diagnosis is reached, the doctor will need to dig deeper to find out what type of lumbar stenosis it is. This is the only way to come up with an appropriate treatment plan.
There are three types of this condition. The lateral type, which is the most common, occurs when a nerve is compressed by a bulging or herniated disc. Central stenosis occurs when the lower back canal is choked. Foraminal stenosis involves a nerve root in the lower back that is trapped by a bone spur.
Solomon Kamson will most likely want to try every non-surgical option possible to manage pain from lumbar stenosis before opting to perform surgery. Patients can be provided with a cane or walker so that they can lean forward when they walk. They can also visit a physical therapist to get a specialized exercise program like stationary biking to alleviate pain. If these options do not work, a patient can take ibuprofen or naproxen. Epidural injections involve injecting steroids into the epidural space. This can reduce pain and swelling from stenosis.
Lumbar Stenosis Surgery
When all else fails to relieve pain, or if it is a very bad case of stenosis, then surgery is the only option. The most common type of surgery for lumber stenosis is a lumbar laminectomy. This works by decompressing the pressure on the spinal cord or nerve. Other types of surgery include a foraminotomy, laminotomy, and microendoscopic decompression. The best course of action is to discuss all of the options with a professional like Dr. Solomon Kamson and decide what will bring the most relief in each unique situation.