Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is the leading cause of spinal surgery among older Americans, yet more than one-third do not gain significant relief from surgical treatment. The distinct pattern of lower back and leg pain induced by standing and walking associated with LSS is known as neurogenic intermittent claudication (NIC). Various treatment options for NIC include surgical interventions as well as pharmacological, biomechanical and conservative therapy (i.e., physical therapy). No specific treatment is associated with guaranteed outcome, which underscores the need to further evaluate the diagnosis and symptoms associated with LSS.
Key words: lumbar spinal stenosis, neuropathic pain, treatment, treadmill testing, epidural steroid injection.
Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis is a common problem among older adults. Stenotic compression of spinal nerves can result in low back pain, disabling leg pain, and greatly restricted walking capacity. Conservative therapies are usually prescribed for mild symptoms and surgery is prescribed for severe symptoms, while patients with moderate symptoms may not have an obvious treatment choice. The clinical evidence supporting these treatment options has been criticized because of problems with study design and quality that complicate their assessment. Despite the poor quality of most of the literature, recent studies provide better information and a means of starting to judge the effectiveness of treatment.
Key words: lumbar spinal stenosis, neurogenic claudication, conservative therapy, surgical intervention.
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