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Spinal stenosis / claudication

  • Heavy painful legsPatient often report heavy legs, or increasing pain when walking
  • Back painStenosis can present with increasing back pain on standing or walking
  • Surgery can helpMinimally invasive decompressions offer a fast recovery.

The spinal column is composed of 33 vertebrae separated by rubbery fibrous discs with a core of cartilage. These discs cushion the spine, allowing it to bend and flex with body movements. These discs undergo changes with aging. They may thin, dry out, or crack, or the softer cartilage core may begin to bulge out and cause pressure on the spinal canal.


Although the degeneration that comes with aging is normal, it is not recognized as degenerative disc disease unless it causes pain or other symptoms.

Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis may include:

Back pain
Heavy legs
Pain is usually worse with walking
Often patients report pain at night, this is because laying flat pinches the spinal canal more

Treating Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis treatment is driven by your symptoms. Broadly speaking the goals are to reduce the pressure on the spinal nerves caused by arthritis, ligaments, and disc bulges. Initial treatment will include injections and therapy to see if you get any relief. If these simple treatments fail we will discuss minimally invasive surgical options Saville Spine Institute may recommend any or all of the following treatments to patients:

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to some of the most common questions patients ask about lumbar spinal stenosis.

  • What causes spinal stenosis?

    The causes are multifactoral. Ageing of the spinal discs leads to buldging, and arthritis in the joints, as well as thickening of the ligaments. These factors together create narrowing of the spinal canal and pinching on the spinal nerves.

  • How do you remove the stenosis?

    A decompression procedure will remove part of the lamina, the arthritic bone, and excess ligament. This recreates space for the nerves, and relieves the pain.

  • Will I need a fusion?

    This depends on your anatomy. If you have a scoliosis, or significant instability (spondylolisthesis) removing the stenosis will further destabilize your spine, in this case a fusion is usually the best option to give long term success.