Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Causes and Symptoms
Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a serious health problem, especially among the elderly. Lumbar spinal stenosis has been defined as any narrowing of the spinal canal or the various tunnels through which nerves communicate through that canal. This narrowing of the spinal canals can place pressure on the spinal cord or exiting nerve roots that go into the legs. The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is from osteoarthritis and can be found in any spinal area from post-surgical fibrotic scarring or joint enlargement from degenerative joint changes. The most common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are: Pain and numbness in the low back. Pain and numbness in the legs and buttocks. Leg symptoms are usually worse after walking or extension of the lumbar spine called Neurogenic intermittent claudication. Symptoms improve with flexion of the lower back. Chiropractor in phoenix for lumbar spinal stenosis treatment.
Lumbar Spine Stenosis Surgery
Lumbar spinal stenosis is one of the most common reasons for spine surgery in older people. It is generally felt that most patients with lumbar spinal stenosis should be managed non-surgically before considering surgical intervention because of the surgical outcomes. With lumbar spinal stenosis the surgeon places bone grafts or metal rods and screws that fuse two or more vertebrae together to prevent motions and stop pain. Recently Deyo studied the records of more than 30,000 patients who underwent surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis of the lower back and found that fusion surgery for spinal stenosis had increased an astounding 1,400 percent from 2002 through 2007. It was noted that the risks were significant: Those who underwent lumbar spine fusion surgery were nearly three times more likely to suffer life-threatening complications than those who underwent less invasive surgery. Previous studies have also found that most fusion patients experience no more relief from their back pain than those who had conservative therapy. “There is even some evidence that fusion surgery is worse that other surgeries,” says Floyd J. Fowler Jr., Ph.D., senior scientific advisor for the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making. “the vertebrae right above and below the fusion have to do a lot more bending, and it puts extra stress on your back.” Lumbar spinal stenosis treatment with phoenix chiropractor.
Chiropractic Treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Recently researchers set out to determine if chiropractic is beneficial for lumbar spinal stenosis. They studied 55 patients with lumbar spinal stenosis diagnosed by MRI or CT scans. Each patient was given questionnaires to determine disability and pain intensity before treatment and at a 16-month follow-up. The authors reported the following findings at the completion of treatment: The average patient-rated improvement was 65.1% from baseline to the end of treatment. The average patient improvement in disability was 5.1 points on the Roland Morris back pain and Disability questionnaire. There were also significant improvements in “worst pain.” At the 16 month follow-up: The average patient-rated improvement was 75.6%. The average improvement in disability was 5.2 points on the RM. “Clinically meaningful improvement in disability was seen in 73.2% of patients.” The average improvement in “on average pain” was 3.0 points on the RM. The average improvement in “at worst pain” was 4.2 points on the RM. Only two patients needed surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis by the 16 month follow-up. Other studies have looked at the natural course of lumbar spinal stenosis with conservative treatment, and it appears from this study that chiropractic may be more effective than other treatments.
Nowakowski P, Delitto A, Erhard RE. Lumbar spinal stenosis. Physical Therapy 1996;76:187-190. Murphy DR, Hurwitz EL, Gregory AA, Clary R. A non-surgical approach to the management of lumbar spinal stenosis: a prospective observational cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2006;7:16.
Acupuncture Treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
In recent years research has been conducted showing that alterations in blood flow can occur with acupuncture treatment leading to clinically significant responses in those with lumbar spinal stenosis (Inoue, et al, 2005). Sciatic nerve blood flow appears to be affected by acupuncture, finding that sciatic nerve stimulation through electroacupuncture increased sciatic nerve blood flow by 100% in both cases, compared to a 56.9% increase in those models undergoing lumbar muscle stimulation. Further evidence of acupuncture’s effect on back pain was found by Inoue (et al, 2008) when attempting to isolate target areas for treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. Considerable reductions in lower leg pain was found in those patients undergoing electroacupuncture, overall walking distance was improved, and low back pain also decreased in these patients. Chiropractor phoenix 85032 treating lumbar spinal stenosis.
Alternatives for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Simply accepting back and leg pain as we age should be unacceptable and resources to experience an improved quality of life should be considered. Unfortunately, many turn to chiropractic and acupuncture as a last resort for lumbar spinal stenosis when all other options have been exhausted. Using flexion distraction, the vertebral distraction pump and acupuncture has been able to provide many of our patients with relief of back and leg pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal manipulation using flexion distraction and acupuncture should be one of the first steps to consider in providing pain relief for lumbar spinal stenosis. If you have been frustrated with the medical model for lumbar spinal stenosis please consider your options and call for an appointment today!
This article on lumbar spinal stenosis is informational and not to be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition