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I have recently been diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis

Please help. I have been told by my Spinal Consultant that I have at L4/L5, a large circumferential disc bulge, bilateral facet joint degeneration and significant ligament hypertrophy are causing severe spinal canal stenosis with early thecal sac nerve root. I am being told that surgery is now the only option. Has any one had similar problems and is there an alternative to surgery at this stage. I have a further appointment on 20th November and I will need to make a decision. Any advice would be appreciated.
Alma me


  • Welcome to Spine Health. There are a lot of people here (myself included) that have had similar problems -- and all of us have stories, opinions, recommendations.

    What kind of symptoms are you having?

    Lots of people are able to manage this cluster of conditions conservatively -- that is, with medicine, lifestyle modifications, P/T which includes a lot of core strengthening, etc

    I have been told by a top doctor, one who even consults on this site, a good doctor will treat the patient, not the CT scans and the MRI. Which means if your symptoms are minor and manageable, they prefer not to operate. Many people live with these conditions for a long time (and some of them may get better over time).

    If you're having major neurological symptoms -- severe weakness, numbness, loss of bladder and bowels, footdrop, then an operations might be warranted. Or if you have significant spinal instability.

    First things first: get more thorough answers from your doctors. Seek out second and third opinions.
  • Have you read the articles here? Good ones under the "Conditions" tab.

    What operation type is being suggested?

  • Thank you for your replies, so grateful for your help. My symptoms are severe leg pain & weakness, burning feet syndrome and restless leg syndrome. Tingling and numbness in face, arms and hands. Back pain and neck spasms. I have been diagnosed with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in late 1980’s but have been ill since the late 70’s. All my symptoms have been put down to the ME/CFS. I was prescribed a wheelchair for long distances in 2000.
    In 2011 I saw another neurologist who put my back pain and leg pain down to my continuing ME/CFS symptoms. My Dr then sent me to a Physiotherapist, After I described my symptoms he examined me and sent me for a MRI scan of the lower spine. I was then referred to Consultant Fellow who told me that an operation was the only option as it was too late and too dangerous to have injections. The Operation would be L4/L5 decompression, he also sent me for a further MRI scan of the cervical and thoracic which showed disc degeneration throughout, but in particular some left sided foraminal narrowing around C6 nerve root and they will be monitoring this problem. I did see a neurologist in 2003 who sent me for an MRI and a lumber puncture and was told that there were no problems. I have however just found out that his notes stated that there was stenosis of the cervical spine. Having seen two Consultant Fellows who have told me that an operation is the only option, I now have an appointment with their Consultant this month (November) and need to ask questions before I finally decide whether to undergo surgery on L4/L5 decompression. This has all come as quite a shock for me as I have been complaining about my symptoms for so long and told it was all ME/CFS. Take care thank you for reading this. Best wishes.
    Alma me
  • Have seen the surgeon yet?

    Yes, it's a shame that it happens too often that the correct diagnosis takes a number of consultants and a number of tests. One feels sorry for the.people who believe doctors are infallible and suffer as a result for long periods.
  • If u dont have instability issues u may want to look into a new procedure called IO-flex.. i just started reading about it.. Its saws down you bone from inside out to decompress areas.. I am looking into it.. but its my understanding instability issues is a whole different issues
  • need info on this subject as aim suffering with it now..the numbness,tingling in the feet legs n hands..I had never had these symptoms.I need info n help understanding this..

    Vivian ramos
  • Welcome to Spine Health
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and growing.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

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    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 international members and growing daily.

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