Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Symptoms

Many people, especially those older than age 50, have some narrowing of the spinal canal but don't have symptoms.

Symptoms occur when the nerve roots get squeezed.

Leg pain

The most common symptom is leg pain that happens when you walk or stand and feels better when you sit. You feel pain in your legs, because the nerve roots that pass through the lower spine camera.gif extend to the legs.

People often have leg pain when the spine is extended—when they are standing straight or leaning backward, for example.

And they often feel better when the spine is flexed—when they are sitting, walking uphill, riding a bicycle, or leaning over a grocery cart, for example.

People with severe stenosis may have a habit of leaning forward in a stooped position to relieve pain.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms may include:

  • Numbness, weakness, and cramping in the legs, feet, or buttocks.
  • Stiffness in the legs and thighs.
  • Low back pain.
  • In severe cases, loss of bladder and bowel control.

Several other conditions have symptoms similar to spinal stenosis.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding lower back
    Or is it another form of back pain?
    Hand on back
    Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s the myths vs. the facts.
     
    Woman doing pilates
    Good and bad exercises
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Use it to manage your pain.
     
    Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
    Video
    pain in brain and nerves
    Slideshow
     
    Chronic Pain Healtcheck
    Health Check
    break at desk
    Article
     
    Woman holding lower back
    Slideshow
    Weight Loss Surgery
    Slideshow
     
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
    back pain
    Article