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Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition typically found in those over age 50. The natural wear and tear on our spine may lead to a number of contributing factors that cause the narrowing of the spinal canal. Factors resulting in spinal stenosis include thickening of ligament tissue, formation of excess bone, or compression/bulging of the discs. If the spinal canal becomes too narrowed, it may lead to back and leg pain symptoms.

Typical signs and symptoms include difficulty with standing for long periods, walking short distances, using a cane or walker for balance. Spinal stenosis symptoms are often alleviated with bending forward or sitting.

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Specialized tools are inserted through a tiny incision in your back (about the size of a pearl) and are used to remove small pieces of bone and excess ligament that cause the narrowing of the canal. This is performed without the need for a large incision. The doctor will use an imaging machine to visualize the area that needs to be decompressed. Some doctors have described the goal of treating LSS as being similar to “removing a kink in a drinking straw.” The restoration of space in the spinal canal decreases the compression of the nerves, which reduces pain and restores mobility. Patients typically resume normal activities within 24-48 hours with no restrictions.

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