Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

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Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when injury or age leads to a narrowing of the space within the spinal column of vertebrae in your lower back. With nerve roots or the spine itself under pressure, the result can be pain and difficulty walking.

Discs are doughnut-shaped, spongy cushions that fit between each vertebra to absorb shock and tie the vertebrae together to ease bending and twisting.

There are five discs in the lumbar area of the spine — running from below your last rib to the pelvis. They are made of cartilage that holds a jellylike substance. If that jellylike substance oozes out of the disc, called herniation, it can cause stenosis, putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

Other causes of lumbar spinal stenosis include bone spurs on the vertebrae or overgrown ligaments in the spinal column.

The skilled physicians at Norton Leatherman Spine have the experience to identify the right treatment for a broad range of spinal conditions — including the most complicated issues and common issues like spinal stenosis that affect millions of older patients.

The combined team of orthopedic spine and neuroscience specialists at Norton Leatherman spine provides comprehensive care for spinal stenosis.

The experience and training of Norton Leatherman Spine physicians are especially valuable when it comes to treating spinal stenosis, where identifying the best therapy sometimes can be difficult.

Our orthopedic and neurosurgical spine physicians combine proven treatments that have built our reputation for over 25 years with new developments at the leading edge of innovative care. We’ll evaluate your case and give you a treatment plan customized for you.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

  • Back pain
  • Burning pain from the buttocks into the legs
  • Sciatica — pain like an electric shock down the leg
  • Pain, numbness or tingling in the legs that worsens with walking and improves with sitting down or bending forward
  • Foot drop (weakness in the foot that causes it to slap down while walking)
  • Bladder, bowel or sexual dysfunction

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Many nonsurgical treatments can eliminate lumbar spinal stenosis pain. Options include:

  • Cold/heat therapy
  • Therapy to help you better understand and manage your pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy
  • Mental health therapy to help you cope with your condition
  • Injections to reduce swelling around a nerve

Surgery isn’t right for everyone. If simpler treatments don’t work, and relief will come only from an operation, you’ll want surgeons with the most experience and expertise. Surgical options include:

Lumbar decompression. Depending on your case, our surgeons may perform a minimally invasive decompression to remove the overgrown ligament or bone spurs that cause your pain and difficulty with walking.

In a minimally invasive procedure, we make smaller incisions through which we can relieve the spinal stenosis. This eases pressure on the nerves and helps relieve pain.

A smaller incision means you can get back on your feet faster and resume living your life. Patients typically go home the day of surgery (outpatient surgery).

Lumbar Decompression and Fusion. With spinal instability issues such as spondylolisthesis or lumbar stenosis your surgeon may need to restore spinal stability to allow effective decompression of the nerves. Norton Leatherman Spine surgeons have the training and experience to perform these procedures safely and effectively.

New advances such as robotic-assisted surgery and computer-assisted navigation for spinal surgery are used at Norton Leatherman Spine and allow for these more complicated procedures, with less recovery time and less postoperative pain. Decompression and fusion can reduce pain and restore function by removing bone and ligament overgrowth compressing the nerves, while maintaining the spinal stability and restoring the spinal alignment needed for maximal function.

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.

  • The multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise from a variety of specialties to offer a comprehensive array of treatment options that include minimally invasive and nonsurgical therapies.
  • Our team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of spine conditions works cooperatively with primary care physicians and other specialists to develop a treatment plan as unique as each individual.
  • Because you may not need surgery, you may work with our pain management team, physical therapy specialists and others who can create a care plan with the right types of treatments for you.
  • If you need surgery, you’re in experienced hands. Norton Leatherman Spine physicians perform more than 4,000 surgeries a year.
  • Our team has more than 45 specialists at nearly 20 offices across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Many offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours, with no referral needed
  • Our specialists are internationally recognized leaders in clinical research of spinal disease, injury and deformity, and have served in senior positions in the Scoliosis Research Society, the most prestigious organization for scoliosis surgeons around the world.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery.
  • We use the EOS Imaging system, which collects high-resolution images while exposing the patient to 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional X-rays and 95% less than basic CT scans. The system is especially beneficial to scoliosis patients who often need repeated imaging to monitor their progress.
  • Use MyNortonChart to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime from a mobile device or computer

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