If you’re suffering from severe lower back pain, you may have lumbar spinal stenosis. Caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar area of your back, the nerves in your lower back are put under pressure, resulting in a burning pain that can spread out from your back and down your legs. There are other symptoms that range in severity from numbness in the legs to severe pain that makes it a struggle to walk or get in or out of chairs. If you’ve reached the point where the pain is unmanageable and other treatments have proven ineffective, your physician might recommend a procedure known as a laminectomy. Before undergoing orthopedic spine surgery in Suffolk County, NY, here are some things you should know about laminectomies.
Do You Need a Laminectomy?
While there are several different causes of lumbar spinal stenosis, such as spinal injuries, tumors, and bone disease, the most common cause is osteoarthritis. By age 50, most people have some degree of arthritis in their spine, which can often result in spinal stenosis. While there’s no cure, there are several things you can do to lessen the impact of spinal stenosis. Your doctor might recommend physical therapy comprised of stretching and exercises to strengthen your leg and back muscles, or they could prescribe pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. If these have proven ineffective in treating the disease, a laminectomy may be recommended.
How a Laminectomy Works
The narrowing of your spinal canal causes your lower back to become compressed, putting pressure on the nerve roots that are located there. During a laminectomy, your orthopedic surgery specialists in Suffolk County, NY, will decompress the lumbar area by removing parts or all of the posterior part of the vertebrae (the lamina), thereby decompressing the affected areas.
The Benefits of Decompression Surgery
Lumbar spinal stenosis causes severe pain while often limiting the patient’s movement. A laminectomy effectively widens the spinal canal in the lumbar region, relieving pressure on the nerves that inhabit the lower back. Not only does this relieve the pain, but it also increases mobility that may have been lost due to pain or weakness in one or both legs. A laminectomy will not cure the patient of the osteoarthritis that led to the spinal stenosis, so some back pain may remain due to the continued degeneration of the spinal column.
Lumbar laminectomy has a very high success rate of approximately 80%. In a vast majority of cases, patients can return to a lifestyle that is often more active than any they had enjoyed in years.
If you have severe back and leg pain that you think could be relieved with a laminectomy, contact Peconic Bay Medical Center. We’re industry leaders in orthopedic sports medicine in Suffolk County, NY, and we have the expertise to get you back on your feet. Make an appointment today at (631) 548-6000.