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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Few Facts About a Common Pain Disorder

Although back pain may not receive as much attention as more life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, it is still nothing to scoff at. Back pain conditions and disorders are the primary cause of disabilities for Americans under 45. The United States spends about $86 billion on treatments for neck and back pain every year. Back pain is so pervasive, in fact, that according to a National Institute of Health Statistics survey, lower back pain alone is the most common form of chronic pain reported by Americans with 27% of respondents claiming they experience it the most. Besides the detrimental health effects it can inflict on your body, back pain can negatively impact your sleeping habits as well as your work productivity. Back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work; chronic pain conditions themselves account for more than $60 billion in lost revenue in the workforce.

There are several kinds of back pain conditions, such as post-laminectomy syndrome, phantom limb pain syndrome, sciatica, lumbar degenerative disc disease, etc. However, one of the more serious conditions is lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Lumbar spinal stenosis is a medical condition in which the spinal canal, which is the space inside the spine in which the spinal cord is located, narrows and applies pressure to the spinal cord in the lumbar vertebrae, the last five vertebrae in the spine located between the pelvis and rib cage. LSS is caused by osteoporosis, slipped discs, tumors, as well as natural wear due to old age. It is also possible for one to be born with it. Regardless of the causes, LSS can cause lower back and neck pain, discomfort in the legs (including cramps and a numbing or tingling sensation), fatigue, and even problems with bladder or bowel control. Though LSS is similar to other low back conditions, one key symptom that can lead to a proper diagnosis is if the patient does not experience pain when seated.

Fortunately, LSS is treatable and can be managed with both physical therapy and medication. Feel free to leave a question or comment at the bottom to find out more.

Author
Jeff Ellison Chief Operating Officer

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