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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if a person has signs of damage to the spine after an injury (such as a car accident, fall, or direct blow to the spine). Signs may include severe back pain, or weakness, tingling, or numbness in one or both legs.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

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  • Leg pain is accompanied by persistent weakness, tingling, or numbness in any part of the leg from the buttock to the ankle or foot.
  • Low back pain is accompanied by vomiting, fever, or both.
  • Leg pain, weakness, numbness that comes and goes (intermittent), or tingling lasts longer than 1 week even though you use home treatment.
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowels.
  • Significant back pain either does not improve or gets worse over 2 weeks.

Watchful waiting

Lumbar spinal stenosis usually gets worse gradually over months to years. If you have symptoms that come on suddenly, you may have another serious condition and should call your doctor.

If you begin to regularly have leg pain when walking and standing, call your doctor.

Who to see

The following health professionals can diagnose and treat spinal stenosis:

Specialists who can treat spinal stenosis include the following:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 13, 2012
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.
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