Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve entrapment and subsequent clinical manifestations. The constellation of symptoms includes leg and back pain, neurogenic claudication, difficulty with walking, and other possible complications.
Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region, in which the surrounding osseous and soft tissue structures lead to nerve compression  . This condition is either congenital  or secondary to a degenerative process, trauma, infection, or surgery . LSS commonly affects the aging population and has a slight predilection for males .
The clinical presentation, which is insidious, initially consists of backache but eventually progresses to include worsening pain, fatigue, weakness, and numbness of the leg(s) . Specifically, patients describe symptoms such as tingling, burning, cramping, fatigue, and stiffness of the lower extremities. Moreover, the leg pain is most often bilateral and radiates distally, particularly with exercise .
As evident in the majority of cases, neurogenic intermittent claudication is the most predominant sign attributed to LSS  . This manifestation is produced and worsened by walking or standing but alleviated with sitting or lying down on the side  . Squatting and bicycle riding may also provide relief since flexion of the trunk leads to widening of the lumbar canal . As the disease advances, the patient is likely to adopt a stooped posture .
LSS in the younger population  may cause radicular symptoms consisting of unilateral neurogenic claudication due to stenosis of the foraminal or lateral recess canal . These patients experience severe leg pain that is worsened with lumbar extension .
Excruciating leg pain, paresthesia, and difficulty with ambulation are all likely sequelae in patients with LSS. Additionally, other possible complications include neurogenic bladder and/or abnormal bowel function   and nocturnal leg cramps .
On visual inspection, the patient may have a stooped posture. Furthermore, examination of the lower back reveals limited extension . Additionally, a neurological assessment may show absent or reduced ankle reflexes as well as sensory deficits .
- Osteochondral Loose Body
On review of the literature this is only the second case of osteochondral loose body as a cause for lumbar spinal stenosis and thus remains a rare phenomenon. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
- Skeletal Dysplasia
Introduction Achondroplasia is the most common form of skeletal dysplasia with micromelia, with an estimated prevalence is 1/16,000–25,000 live births1,2. [nature.com]
Patients presenting with the above symptoms should be evaluated by their personal history, clinical picture, physical exam findings, and confirmatory studies. It is important to note that the severity of the clinical presentation does not usually correspond to the degree of stenosis .
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends against routine imaging for low back pain unless there are risk factors for infection, malignancy, or other diseases  . However, the traditional workup has included spinal radiography as the initial test. In patients with LSS, this modality is likely to reveal abnormalities such as degenerative changes in the disc or vertebrae, or other disease processes .
A spinal computed tomographic (CT) scan provides visualization of the canal and allows for accurate measurements of its diameter . It may demonstrate narrowed canal with impingement by surrounding structures resulting in a "cloverleaf" or the pathognomonic "trefoil" appearance. To improve sensitivity, intrathecal contrast can be used but this is associated with risks.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the preferred study for diagnosis of LSS, is useful in the assessment of the spinal cord and associated soft tissue structures such as the cauda equina, epidural fat, intervertebral discs, etc. . Additionally, this test helps rule out differential diagnoses. Specifically, LSS has characteristic appearances on T1 and T2-weighted images.
- Schmorl's Nodes
Schmorl's nodes (SNs) are described as vertical herniation of the disc into the vertebral body through a weakened part of the end plate that can lead to disc degeneration. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Classification of Schmorl’s nodes of the lumbar spine and association with disc degeneration: a large-scale population-based MRI study. Osteoarthr Cartil. 2016; S1063–4584(16)30059-0. [scoliosisjournal.biomedcentral.com]
Finally, the benefits of surgical treatment versus nonsurgical treatment is ultimately inconclusive because of the nature of data collection, inconsistencies with the clinical definition of LSS, and a lack of standardized treatment guidelines. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
These symptoms prompt people to seek treatment. One option for treatment is surgery. Other treatment options include physical therapy, exercise, braces and injections into the spine. [doi.org]
Radiological findings were mainly referred to for diagnosis, and clinical symptoms, age, radiological findings, and medical history were regarded to be important for prognosis. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
The prognosis of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis may vary, but is good with early diagnosis and treatment The disorder can be difficult to prevent due to the risk factors increasing with age. [dovemed.com]
The etiology behind this finding is likely multifactorial but may represent medico-legal concerns in the US, or the phenomenon of provider inducement. Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
The etiology is unknown but it is seen in achondroplasia 2. Central canal narrowing is the pertinent feature - various values have been proposed (AP mid-sagittal diameter 2,3. [radiopaedia.org]
(Etiology) Common causes associated with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis include: Past traumatic spinal injuries Children who are born with an abnormally narrow spinal canal (congenital spinal stenosis) Abnormal growths on the spine, such as a spinal tumor Ruptured [dovemed.com]
Congenital lumbar spinal stenosis is a type of spinal canal stenosis and has a different epidemiology with less severe degenerative change compared to acquired/degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis. [radiopaedia.org]
Wisniewski: Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 127 Parran Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Dr. Fye: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Dr. [annals.org]
When the vertebrae extend back, the spinal canal and neuronal foramina naturally become narrower, and in flexion, become significantly wider. 14 This movement is a contributing pathophysiological cause of neurogenic intermittent claudication, which can [practicalpainmanagement.com]
For this reason, the pathophysiology must be considered when selecting the suitable surgical procedure. [doi.org]
This article reviews the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management of lumbar spinal stenosis in adults over age 50 years. JoAnn Deasy is an adjunct professor in the PA program at Touro University California in Vallejo, Calif. [journals.lww.com]
Can lumbar spinal canal stenosis be prevented or avoided? Lumbar spinal canal stenosis cannot really be prevented because it seems to be a part of getting older. [familydoctor.org]
The prominent epidural fat could have prevented rapid disbursement of the injected fluid which could have further served to propagate the pressure increase throughout the epidural compartment. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Management and Treatment of Spinal Stenosis Doctors are still investigating the most effective ways to prevent or delay spinal stenosis. [brighamhealthhub.org]
How can Lumbar Spinal Stenosis be Prevented? Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a progressive condition that is extremely difficult to prevent due to risk factors increasing with age. [dovemed.com]
- Alvarez JA, Hardy RH. Lumbar Spine Stenosis: A Common Cause of Back and Leg Pain. Am Fam Physician. 1998;57(8):1825-1834.
- Machado GC, Ferreira PH, Harris IA, et al. Effectiveness of Surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Shamji M, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0122800.
- Ciricillo SF, Weinstein PR. Lumbar spinal stenosis. West J Med. 1993;158(2):171–7.
- Genevay S, Atlas SJ. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2010;24(2):253-265.
- Benoist M. The natural history of lumbar degenerative spinal stenosis. Joint Bone Spine. 2002;69(5):450–457.
- Turner JA, Ersek M, Herron L, Deyo R. Surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. Attempted meta-analysis of the literature. Spine. 1992;17(1):1–8.
- Jenis LG, An HS. Spine update. Lumbar foraminal stenosis. Spine. 2000;25(3):389–94.
- Inui Y, Doita M, Ouchi K, et al. Clinical and radiologic features of lumbar spinal stenosis and disc herniation with neuropathic bladder. Spine. 2004;29(8):869–73.
- Matsumoto M, Watanabe K, Tsuji T, et al. Nocturnal leg cramps: a common complaint in patients with lumbar spinal canal stenosis. Spine. 2009;34(5):E189–94.
- Chou R, Qaseem A, Owens DK, et al. Diagnostic imaging for low back pain: advice for high-value health care from the American College of Physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(3):181-9.
- Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(7):478-491.