What is spinal stenosis?
Many people as they get older develop a narrowing within the spinal canal caused by arthritic changes. The medical terminology for this is spinal stenosis. The symptoms usually develop gradually over months and years. The most common symptoms are of pain, and sometimes numbness or weakness, in both legs which worsens on walking and is relieved by rest. Sometimes problems with the blood flow in the legs can cause similar symptoms. Your specialist is able to perform tests in order to confirm the diagnosis, usually an MRI scan. If your symptoms are mild it is reasonable to manage them with painkillers but if they worsen then an operation is the most effective treatment. The operations usually performed for this include a lumbar laminectomy, interlaminar decompression or an interspinous spacer. Some of them can be performed under local anaesthetic and do not usually require an overnight stay in hospital.