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What causes lumbar spinal stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis means narrowing of the spinal canal in the area of the lower back, which can cause pain. Lumbar spinal stenosis can have several possible causes including:

  • infection
  • tumors
  • trauma/back injury
  • arthritis
  • herniated discs
  • thickening of ligaments
  • growth of bone spurs (bony projections on the edges of bones of the spine)
  • disc degeneration (wear and tear on the spine, which often happens with age)

The lumbar spinal canal is the tube-like structure with nerves that extend down into the legs. The narrowing of stenosis can put pressure on those nerves, causing pain that extends into the legs.

Finding out the cause of spinal stenosis is an important step toward determining the best way to treat the condition. Your doctor will likely diagnose the cause of your spinal stenosis by taking a detailed medical history, doing a thorough physical exam and possibly ordering imaging tests such as x-rays, CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.