Spinal Stenosis -- narrowing of the canals in your spine
This is a very common condition in people who are "middle aged" and older.
Spinal stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of your spinal canal caused by severe arthritis called or the forward slipping of one vertebra on another referred to as spondylolisthesis. This narrowing pinches on the nerves that leave the spinal canal to go to your foot.
The pain of these conditions is usually described as a constant soreness of ache located from the lower back to the thighs. It is worse when you straighten your spine or walk for a prolonged period. Leaning forward onto a shopping cart or a counter sometimes relieves the pain.
Some people will also experience numbness in their feet. It is important for your doctor to examine you and make sure there is not another reason for your numbness, such as poor circulation.
The diagnosis of spinal stenosis is usually made by listening to the patient's symptoms and a physical examination (which usually does not show any change in reflexes or strength). Your doctor will check your pulses to make sure that no vascular (blood flow) problems are present. X-rays are often ordered to look for bone spurs that may pinch the nerves. If your pain is severe, an MRI or CT scan may also be ordered to look for bone spurs that may be pinching a specific nerve. Often there are bone spurs at many levels in your lumbar spine.
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