Dr. Kamal Thapar, MD., PhD., FRCSC., FAANS
1200 Oakleaf Way, Suite A, Altoona, WI 54720

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a disorder in which there is narrowing of the spinal canal in the back, which can compress the spinal nerves. It often occurs as part of the aging process due to normal wear and tear of the spine.


– Herniated disc

– Some people are born with a narrower spinal canal

– Bone spurs (overgrowth of bone)

– Spinal tumors

– Spine fractures disrupt the normal alignment of the spine and may cause the spinal canal to become narrower


Symptoms vary from person to person and can affect multiple levels of the spine. Patients often experience:

– Back pain

– Leg pain

– Numbness and tingling

– Weakness

– Increased pain with prolonged standing and walking

– Pain is often alleviated with bending forward

– loss of ability to walk

– balance difficulties

– bladder and/or bowel dysfunction


In order to identify the severity of spinal stenosis and the levels of the spine affected by this disorder, an MRI of the lumbar spine is needed. The MRI will be able to identify specifically which nerve roots are being compressed.


Treatment for spinal stenosis includes both conservative management and surgical intervention. Recommendations are based on the patient’s symptoms, specific cause, and response to non-operative management. Similarly, the type surgical procedure is also based on the patient’s symptoms and imaging studies. The goal of surgery is to eliminate the cause of stenosis which varies in each individual patient. If surgical intervention is recommended, a simple procedure may be able to alleviate the pressure on the nerves. This procedure is called a decompression or laminectomy.