Stenosis means "choking" in Greek, and lumbar spinal stenosis is typically the result of either osteoarthritis or degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is often associated with the natural aging process.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Video

Our video walk-through can help you visualize how lumbar spinal stenosis affects your nerves:

See Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Definitive Guide

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Video highlights

Each one of the vertebrae in your lumbar spine has a space in the middle (part of your spinal canal) through which your nerve bundles travel.

See Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain

Nerve roots extend off your spinal canal on either side through a space at the back of your vertebrae known as the foramen.

See Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerve Roots

How lumbar spinal stenosis affects your lumbar nerves

If your spine is healthy, both your nerve bundle and nerve roots have ample room within your spinal canal and foramen.

But if you have lumbar spinal stenosis, degenerative changes (such as bone spurs) can restrict the space that your nerves have within your spinal canal. In turn, this may place pressure on your nerves.

See Bone Spur Causes

Bone spurs can also affect the foramen, narrowing the space for one or more of your nerve roots as they exit your spine.


Common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:

  • Leg pain
  • Heightened leg pain while walking
  • Tingling, weakness or numbness that radiates from your lower back into your buttocks and legs

Sciatica Causes

Treatment options

There are numerous non-surgical treatment options for lumbar spinal stenosis, including the following:

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Learn more:

Spinal Anatomy and Its Effects on Types of Spinal Stenosis

Types of Spinal Stenosis Surgery