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Hunched Over by Lower Back Pain? It Could Be Spinal Stenosis

Hunched Over by Lower Back Pain? It Could Be Spinal Stenosis

You find yourself leaning over the grocery cart when you’re shopping at the store to relieve lower back pain. Or you’re experiencing shooting pain down your leg that shortens the distances you’re able to walk comfortably. If these scenarios sound familiar, we recommend that you put lumbar spinal stenosis on your list of potential culprits. 

This degenerative spine condition affects about 11% of older adults in the United States, which means millions are finding themselves increasingly hunched over due to lumbar spinal stenosis.

As experts in orthopaedics and spine health, the team of musculoskeletal experts here at Western Orthopaedics is very familiar with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), and we understand the impact it can have on your life — which isn’t small for many people.

Below, we explore how spinal stenosis occurs, why it’s so potentially painful and life-altering, and how we can improve your future.

Lumbar spinal stenosis — it’s mostly an age thing

The word stenosis refers to narrowing, and LSS is a condition in which degenerative changes in your spine cause narrowing in the lumbar spinal canal. Since it’s degenerative, LSS typically doesn’t show up until you’re in your 60s or older.

Whether you have arthritis in your facet joints or your discs are slowly degenerating, your spine can respond to this wear and tear by creating bone spurs or by thickening supporting ligaments, both of which can crowd your spinal canal. 

Since your spinal canal provides passage for your nerves, this narrowing can lead to nerve compression and a range of symptoms.

Signs of lumbar spinal stenosis

While you probably wouldn't be reading this if you didn’t have symptoms, it’s worth noting that about 80% of people with LSS don’t experience any side effects. For the remaining 20% who do encounter symptoms, life can be uncomfortable and challenging.

The title of this blog refers to one of the common signs of lumbar spinal stenosis — hunching over. This is done to relieve the nerve compression in the lower back because, when they’re pinched, you can experience:

These symptoms can often be relieved by leaning forward or lying down, but that’s hardly a great way to spend your days.

Standing tall again when you have lumbar spinal stenosis

If we find that LSS is behind your lower back pain, we can recommend a treatment plan that might include one or more of the following:

In most cases, these conservative efforts are enough to get you to stand tall without pain again. On the off chance that they prove ineffective, we can explore surgical solutions.

The good news in either case is that you don’t lack for solutions when it comes to relieving the side effects of lumbar spinal stenosis. To figure out what’s best for your lower back pain, please contact one of our offices in Arvada or Denver, Colorado, to schedule an appointment.

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