Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. Individuals who have LSS experience intense back pain and occasional weakness or numbness in their back and legs, and are often unable to walk for long periods of time.
How did I get LSS?
LSS is a naturally occurring condition caused by years of “wear and tear,” as well as bone degeneration that is a normal part of the aging process. Over time, the amount of space in the spinal canal becomes increasingly narrow, pinching the nerves in the lumbar spine and significantly reducing the nerves’ ability to exit to the lower extremities.
How can I tell if I have LSS?
The only way to be sure that your discomfort is a result of LSS is to consult with your physician. However, if you have experienced pain in your lower back and buttocks and weakness or numb
In some cases, the pain associated with spinal stenosis can be controlled via non-surgical options. When treating a new patient, doctors may prescribe pain medication or injections, chiropractic care, physical therapy, or massage to relieve the pain. In many cases, these methods are simply not enough to fix the problem.
When non-surgical treatments have proven to be ineffective at restoring an LSS patient’s quality of life, the spine specialist will begin discussions about what surgical options are available.
If non-surgical options have failed to relieve the pain associated with spinal stenosis, the surgeon may recommend a surgical decompression procedure. Through a small incision, the surgeon will remove the bone and soft tissue that is putting pressure on the nerves of the spinal canal, allowing them to function properly. Surgical decompression could potentially cause the spine to become unstable.
Decompression with Spinal Fusion
After clearing out the affected area and restoring normal spine function, the surgeon will use metal rods and screws to hold the bones in place while the vertebrae fuse together. While effective at relieving LSS pain and achieving stability, spinal fusion stops the motion in that portion of the spine, resulting in decreased mobility following the surgery.
A New Option for LSS Patients
The coflex® Interlaminar Stabilization™ device is a new, non-fusion solution that can provide spinal stability — with greater mobility and faster recovery* — than spinal fusion surgery.