Patient Comments: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Symptoms


What were the symptoms of your lumbar spinal stenosis? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: steve leqamy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 19

My back pain from lumbar spinal stenosis increased after shoulder surgery where I had to sleep in seated position for several weeks, and sleep on my back for several months. I never really noticed the paresthesia in my feet until I stubbed my toe to the point where it bled but I had little pain.

Comment from: Janice, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 01

I broke my toe climbing the stairs 5 months ago. I thought I just stubbed it and continued to stand on it at a meeting that evening, perhaps making it worse. After 10 weeks if was still red and a bit swollen. I had it x-rayed and the doctor gave me a prescription anti-inflammation pill. That, along with wearing steel plate in my sneaker finally helped move the healing along. Now it still feels a bit off after exercising and has some redness, but hoping it will be fully healed in the next few weeks.

Comment from: flyfreeizzie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 06

I have cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis from birth. I've always had spine pain and now deal with the sciatica bilaterally. I have arthritis too, I take morphine daily and while I still have pain, it's tolerable. Ice is my friend. I will need surgery in the next couple of years is what my neurosurgeon tells me. I also deal with chronic migraines, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Comment from: Tikalasi, 19-24 (Patient) Published: July 12

I went to the doctor last week and I found out I have pneumonia. This has been going for a while that it has infected my lungs which have started to bleed. I did not know I had pneumonia because I felt absolutely fine until last Thursday when I coughed out blood. So I decided to go see the doctor for a checkup. I had no sign of fever, chest-pain or anything besides coughing out blood and a back pain. The doctor decided to take a blood count and an x-ray test and found out my red blood cell count is fine but the white blood cell count is not normal. However the doctor gave me amoxicillin to take three times a day. I hope this will stop the bleeding.

Comment from: Merry widow, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: March 02

I had severe back pain that came and went. Sitting was the only relief of pain from my lumbar spinal stenosis. Finally I had epidural several days ago (4). Pain eased but there is some return of bearable pain in certain spots, hope relief lasts for quite a while. Have to give it more time, I guess. I am still afraid to risk doing too much, still taking it easy. I had epidural 10 years ago for sciatica. I see the doctor two weeks after my shot.

Comment from: Pepper, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 11

Symptoms of my lumbar spinal stenosis are pain, especially while sleeping, inability to stand more than a few minutes and therefore losing ability to walk, chronic sciatica, usually on the left side but sometimes on the right, inability to lie in one position for more than a few minutes when trying to sleep, and increased pain with major weather changes.

Comment from: long island phil, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 26

I was in a motorcycle accident in 05 and broke my neck and back. Due to the impact I got arthritis in pelvis and lower back. Two months ago I got a pinched nerve in my spine where there is no cushion left. I had pain like I never felt before; like being electrocuted! After MRI I was set to get a laminectomy {open up the spine to let the nerves breathe} for my lumbar spinal stenosis. I have diabetes. Before I was supposed to go under they found my levels were too high and sent me home. I am bed ridden and not set to go under till July 7th. I can’t bear the pain! I am on oxycodone, hydrocodone and all the rest and can’t find a day {no, a minute} without pain. I am ready to drive my car into a brick wall!

Comment from: Karen, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 10

I am 57 and I had a fall from a horse last June 2014 which resulted in a rotator cuff injury. I had surgery on my shoulder last November 2014. Since January this year I have been suffering with leg pain in both legs, which keeps me awake, it always starts around 2.30 am. My physiotherapist who sees me for my shoulder operation is also seeing me about my leg pain. Last week she manipulated my lower spine. For 3 nights and days it was wonderful, no pain. Then Sunday night and every night since the pain has returned with vengeance. The pains I experience in both legs is sometimes throbbing or dull continuous ache, and then a few months ago it moved to around top of both legs in the groin area, very painful. The last 2 night and days I have experienced pain in both shins all night and day, it just won't go away. I have experienced numbness in both legs and unable to move them during the night for 10/15 seconds which seem like ages. I'm seeing my physiotherapist tomorrow and just hope he suggests an MRI. I'm due to return to work next month after having my shoulder surgery. But I feel these leg pains are going to prevent me from doing this as they are at the moment. As yet I haven't had one though I am worried it might be lumbar spinal stenosis. I have on occasions lost control of both lower functions, and have been referred back to surgeons for this.


What Is Spinal Stenosis? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment See Slideshow
Comment from: Dee, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 28

I've been in pain for a year now. I was just recently diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. It’s hard for me to work. My feet, legs and lumbar region hurt. I've tried physical therapy and it’s painful. I'm only 48 years old. This has affected me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I used to be very active. I can't do what I used to do. My neurologist is suggesting a rhizotomy.

Comment from: gacowgirl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 21

After decades of lower back pain, I had a 4 level TLIF (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) 10 years ago. The fusion begins at S1. Now, I am having back pain again, along with leg weakness and bowel and bladder incontinence. I have an appointment with my spine doctor in 1 year. I have had spinal stenosis since my 20s and was diagnosed with DDD (degenerative disc disease) with facet involvement in my early 40s. I have had rheumatoid arthritis (RA) since I was 35. I also have double hip (and knee) replacements and one shoulder replacement less than two years old. I have continued to lead an active life until the last 9 months. I am unable to manage my ADL (activities of daily living). TLIF was very successful and I would do it again.

Comment from: Grumpy Old Man, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 10

I have spinal stenosis for 10 years and yes it is awful. My pain started locally then spread to my (bi-lateral) legs over the years, including pain and numbness. I lack the ability to walk more than 5 minutes. In the recent past I have soiled myself as I could not hold my bowel, it just let loose without warning. Although when I do get steroid Injections they work great for me for about 6 months each time.

Comment from: geogio, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: March 14

I wonder if lumbar spinal stenosis can affect one leg only; I have no numbness, just pain in buttock and tingling that shoots down below knee and to the large toe in the right leg only. My physiotherapist says I have stenosis and my chiropractor says I have piriformis. This pain started in my lower back one night after butterfly swimming.

Comment from: Me, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 20

I was just diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis (L1 - L5). Because of my age surgery has not been an option, I had a neck fusion of C4, C5, C6, and C7 with plates and rods. Now I’m looking at C2 and C3 going bad because of the prior neck fusion. I have lost 1 inch in height. My pain management is reclining in recliner, tramadol and Flexeril, I just started Neurontin and it has been great for my pain. I had to quit taking Tylenol due to liver problems. I’m 42 and can’t live alone, need to depend on others to care for me.

Comment from: Kmem, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I'm 58 and was diagnosed with Lumbar Stenosis via an MRI. I also have ruptured discs. Sometimes the pain is really intense in my neck, back, legs. Twice from the ruptured discs I reinjured and had to lay in bed for 2 months-- crawling on the floor, couldn't walk or sit up. Slowly got back to health by physical therapy: electrical stimulation (stops spasms/pain) massage after some recovery and then slow swimming, floating. I got addicted to vicodin in order to survive work and numbness, imbalance, arm, leg shooting pain-- the whole bit including lack of sleep. Then I decided to cure myself or at least manage the pain. I now go to a fantastic chiropractor who uses electric stimulation, massage, some manipulations (if not pain) every week or ten days. I exercise (biking, swimming, some cardio and weights-- but STOP if there is any pain. And no plyometrics, jumping, etc. I am still in pain often but I am happy and able to work and play & enjoy life. I hope it will not get worse, to the point of immobility.

Comment from: Disabled Vet, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: December 12

As of 12/10/11, I have Spinal Stenosis. I was diagnosed by the U of M doctors along w/ V.A doctors back in 2004. This all be a result of a bad wreck with my semi into a bridge guard-rail, and, also a couple of bad falls off my truck's flatbed trailer. I am now having loss of Bladder control and it is happening more frequently. Yesterday alone, it happened twice where I urinated on myself (glad I was home), but, it is very degrading and I feel like a freak. I get an instantaneous urge/warning I have to go, and, have inability to hold it back as in being normal. I think it's time to have this re-checked to see what all is going on. I also have herniated/slipped discs as well mainly in my Lumbar region, but, I also have disc issues in my T and C levels. I'm a wreck and am seriously thinking that a Foley or full Catheterization may be in order. However; I also have Diabetes and M.S. besides, as well as Heart problems in which any and all of these ailments can be contributing in negative ways. Anyway; I pray God may heal us from this painful and troubling condition.

Comment from: Beanie 46, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 20

I am a 65-year-old black female. At age 18, I was in the military. I'm from the Deep South. I experienced a severe pain in my right knee, causing me to fall into the fence. (I walked with a cane for a month). I have had problems with my knees ever since. The pain radiated upwards to my thighs. I am now diagnosed with severe-to-moderate lumbar spinal stenosis. Rarely am I free of pain, and it radiated down my right leg to a couple of inches above my knee. I have a problem walking long distances. I was diagnosed with cysts on the left side of my spine. I tried physical therapy once and wound up in the emergency room in excruciating pain. I walked with a walker for about one month. I want to try water aerobics.


The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer
Comment from: Dksuccesscoach, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: March 01

Avoid surgery if possible. I have been challenged with issues due to sports injuries but have pulled through and have been pain free for 15 years through diet yoga and moderate exercise. It will flare up for a couple of weeks if I get too aggressive but I stay positive and use ice and anti inflammatory medication. I can relate to all the concerns but you have to keep a positive outlook and you too will pull through.

Comment from: Anna, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 18

My daughter was in a car accident, in January 2013, she was rear ended. Her doctors have diagnosed her with lumbar spinal stenosis, she stays in chronic pain all the time now. Everything I have read doesn't sound good and she is only 30.

Comment from: gwmiddy, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: July 18

I have had some back pain since 2008, after having surgery for a ruptured disc. Since that time the back pain has increased, slowly at first. This past year the pain has increased. I have had epidural steroid injections. It worked for me one time out of four. I am now going to a pain management doctor who, after seeing my mri and determining that I have spinal stenosis of the lower lumbar and suggests steroid facet injections. He also mentioned surgery. I am waiting for approval from my insurance. If I do no work I can manage.

Comment from: Shrinking, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

Since diagnosis with lumbar spinal stenosis 6 years ago, I am having more severe pain and with my sciatic nerve. Also, I have lost an inch to my height.

Comment from: Angel3535, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 19

I am 35 and at the age of 30 I had an injury and that's when all the problems started. I have 4 herniated disc, lower lumbar spinal stenosis, nerve damage in both legs, arms, and hands. I have been through pain management for years now and I still suffer with intense pain. I have not gotten addicted to the pain pills. I try to tolerate the pain before taking a pain pill. I have tried the Wii fit, Zumba and other exercise routines and still not better. Five years and I still suffer with so much pain. I know it's tough to deal with and you lose out on a lot. My family has suffered because of my injury but my husband of 12 years takes excellent care of me and our 6 kids. Please keep your head up and I know at times you may want to give up but think about your loved ones first. The doctor just wanted to throw a pain pump in my back but I said no. I want to try and get better. Sad part is that I am only getting worse. It's very hard on my family and finances but we get through it with love and support. I deal with intense stabbing pains from my back thru my pelvis and down to my toes. I get severe burning in both of my legs. Every time I walk it feels like I am stepping on a thousand needles. The pain is usually over a 10. I got this at the age of 30 so it doesn't matter what age you may be it can and will affect you and your life.

Comment from: Legpain36, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I'm 26 years old seemingly younger then others who have posted. I injured my back in Iraq and have been watching the MRI results get worse and more narrow in my right side. Now with severe stenosis I want the surgery but I keep getting the 50/50 speech instead. They find it better to hand out pain medications and patches to get through day to day. It's not what I want. I was finally admitted to a hospital where I feel they may do the surgery now. I have had incontinance more and more over the last few weeks. Also the leg pain has been getting worse and worse to a point where my right leg isn't of any use sometimes. I really need help on this not just pain pills. I'm glad I'm not alone out here. Wish me luck as I am doing for myself and the sake of living my life.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

My spinal stenosis is a part of my life I have to live with. A lot of pain when you do anything, I am currently going to a pain clinic for injections and on pain medications. I was recently approved for disability, as I also have degenerative disk disease. I talked to my doctors about surgery but they say not until they absolutely have to. However my sister also has these problems and is on morphine and pain patches, and now the doctors tell her that her back is too bad for surgery now, so what do you do. Is surgery the thing to do now, or do you wait and let it get worse. Not much of a life, the depression that goes with it also is bad enough. I truly believe this is the way it will be for the rest of my life, and am trying to deal with it. Very rough on your family life also.

Comment from: Marlene, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 29

I recently had surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. I was falling often and without warning, and nothing I tried seemed to help at all. First I tried cortisone shots, chiropractic, and physical therapy. The surgeon said that he could do a bone transplant, remove a cyst that was interfering with the signals from the nerve to the bone, and hold the vertebra in place with a titanium channel of some kind. All I know is that I am trying to get used to not worrying about falling. It's wonderful! I have the stability now to just live my life again. I don't do skiing or high diving, but then I didn't do those before I had the problem either. I am so much enjoying having my life back.

Comment from: Candy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 09

I have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, cervical stenosis, and severe degenerative disc disease. I have had surgery for the lumbar spinal stenosis but three years later I am still in pain and now I have sciatica too. I have tried several medications but nothing helps. Then I tried acupuncture and it cut my pain in half and also helps deal with the stress from the remaining pain.

Comment from: seniorfly, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: April 06

I am 85, male, have had diagnosis of spinal stenosis (no variants specified) for three years. I have never smoked, or used any drugs, but I do use alcohol moderately. The pain is in the lower back and leg muscles, only when standing and walking. I use Hydrocodone which is effective for 6-8 hours. There is no pain if I’m sitting, so I can still drive, and even fly my airplane. I have had five spinal injections, 2 of which worked, one worked on only one side, and the others did not work at all. I had some exercises prescribed, which had no effect at all. The Hydrocodone produces severe constipation, which is controllable with laxative tablets twice a day. I do not detect any increase in severity in the past three years. OTC pain medicines do not have any noticeable effect. Two doctors agreed on the diagnosis, looking at X-rays and MRIs. I hope they know what they are doing.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 16

Oh boy was I glad to find out I am not alone. I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis two years ago. I never imagined such pain. My quality of my life is nonexistent as I cannot walk or stand for more than ten minutes. Most of my days are spent lying down. My pain medication takes the edge off but nothing really helps. Hang in there everybody.

Comment from: llena40, 45-54 Female Published: January 25

I have spinal stenosis. I have been suffering with this condition for more than two years in a severe state. I had surgery in my neck and my back, and it did nothing. I suffer just has much and it has been over a year and four months later. Lying down is the only relief. To make matters worse, I have diverticulitis and GERD, which adds insult to injury. I cannot take medications anymore because it destroys my stomach, and then I am in the hospital. I would do anything to be pain free for just 48 hours of relief.

Comment from: Barbara, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I'm a 67-year-old female. I've had knee pain and for a year. I've also had back pain for 20 years, so that is nothing new. I just found out that I have spinal stenosis and my L4 and 5 discs are bulging. So I had steroid injections two weeks ago. It didn't help my knee pain, but my back is 50% better. I went back to the doctor yesterday and was put on Neurontin. The doctor said to try that for a month and if it doesn't work, he will do an L4 injection again before sending me to a surgeon. To top it off, I've gained 20 pounds in the last year since I quit walking three miles a day on the tread mill.

Comment from: Sandy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 25

Have just been diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis I will be having the operation next month. I am experiencing a lot of cramps in both legs early hours in the morning in the legs.

Comment from: Deedle, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I have lumbar spinal stenosis. I have suffered with it for a while. I can't walk very far without my legs feeling like I have run a marathon. I have managed with prescription strength ibuprofen, as I refuse to get on prescription drugs no matter what! I have had the shots in the spine. Very short lived, not worth the effort for me. I don't know what the future holds. It saddened me to read what others wrote. I feel for all of you, and share your pain … literally!

Comment from: nar1, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 23

I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, L4-L5 and could walk by sliding my feet one by one. I walked bent over and was in pain 24/7. I opted for surgery as my condition was so progressed neither shots nor pain management alieved the condition, even for a minute. It was the BEST decision I have ever made. I even underwent a discectomy at that time. I was 61 at the time. I went to PT for over 3 months and was a succes story. I am again, 6 years later, suffering from stenosis and disc issues and again, I will opt for surgery if no other solutions offered. I wish all a painfree day.

Comment from: Greg, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I am a 51 year old male. I fractured my L5 vertebra when I was 25, and had a fusion from L4-S1. I eventually got to where I was swimming Masters level. Years later, at around 40, I damaged the L1-L2 and L2-L3 discs, and these started to leak and degenerate. I had the IDET procedure performed on these about 10 years ago. I did alright after that, but had to start on oral narcotics (methadone) to have any type of "normal" life. About two weeks ago, I lost about 70% use of my right leg, about 30% of my left leg. With agonozing pain. Today I go to pick up MRI films for my doc. I am sure they will be showing disc-protrusions at L1-L2 and/or L2-L3 and/or L3-L4. My guess is the top two. Now what happens? I PRAY he can use lazer-lathroscopic surgery to "trim" the protrusions off. More fusions? No. I'd rather be dead than have more of my spine fused.

Comment from: LIN, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 03

I went with my doctor in March 2011 with a pain that I have never experienced in my life and I was told then that I have lumber spinal stenosis. The pain gets worse when walking and lying down in bed at night I have to lay on my back then on my left side then on my right side and I'm like this for 2 or 3 hours every night the only relief I get is sitting down but when I try to get up I'm bent over as if I am trying to touch my knees. Even when I try to get in the bath I have to lift my legs into the bath I get very unsteady. I really feel as if everyone is looking at me when I walk I would not wish this on anyone.

Comment from: daisy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 22

Numbness and tingling in 3 middle toes-both feet-and in front of legs to groin area with my lumbar spinal stenosis. Occasional muscle cramp(intense charlie-horse)from neck, down side to the hip. Painful and can last for a while.

Comment from: anniem, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 28

Initially, recurrent right calf pain which progressed to numbness, hypoesthesia both feet, but the right more than the left. Now, severe right hip pain, right leg numbness and weakness, left foot numbness.