Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Older people commonly suffer from symptoms in their lower limbs due to a narrowing of the spinal canal.  This is called stenosis and the interesting thing is symptoms are NOT purely related to the physical narrowing of the bony canal.

As such many MRI reports indicate 'no evidence of bony canal stenosis' but does this automatically mean the person is not suffering from stenosis?  Well the answer is no and fortunately there is one sign (called a lumbar nerve root sedimentation sign) that is almost 100% indicative of stenosis.  It is thought to be partly due to the backing up of the blood supply of the spinal cord.

Like many conditions spinal stenosis can be identified early and treated effectively using conservative methods which are directed at restoring motion into these compromised areas.  More advanced cases may express weakness of the lower limbs and a loss of bowel and bladder function. These cases are appropriate surgical referrals. Research suggests however that when detected early management can effectively limit damage to the nerves and may slow or prevent deterioration.