Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (DLSS) is a type of arthritis that affects the lower spine.
As much as 80% of adults will have some evidence of wear and tear, known as spinal osteoarthritis. That alone is not enough to be called Spinal Stenosis. Some people will develop extensive arthritis, which will lead to thickening of the spinal joints, and thinning of the spinal discs causing. This can add up to narrow the tunnel that the spinal cord passes though (the spinal canal), or the tunnel the spinal nerves pass through (spinal foramen). Those canals are built larger than the nerves they transport to allow you to move without compressing the nerves that run though them. The narrowed canals can lead to compression of the spinal nerves that travel to the lower back and legs.
Some of the most common symptoms we hear about are pain in the buttock with walking, pain in the leg with walking, or difficulty with prolonged walking due to a heavy feeling in the legs. Often we will hear people tell us the only way to get through the grocery store is by leaning on the cart. Hiking... fuhgeddaboudit!
With the aging population, the number of people who will develop this condition is expected to grow dramatically in the next 20 years. A promising option, developed right here in Toronto focuses on improving standing and walking ability. The overall goal is for people with lumbar spinal stenosis to maintain their independence. Want to learn more? Ask us aboudit!