Each year, lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), a common chronic pain condition, impacts over 2 million patients in the U.S.
Commonly diagnosed in patients over the age of 50, symptomatic LSS is often triggered by age-related arthritis causing a narrowing of the lower spinal canal, or lumbar area.
In children and healthy adults, our vertebral disks hold a high water ratio that helps absorb the impact of movement on our bodies. However, as we get older, our vertebrae can lose its ability to retain water. As a result, the space surrounding our vertebral column may begin to constrict and degenerate, allowing the discs between our bones to put direct pressure on our spinal cord and nerve endings.
When left untreated, the spinal compression associated with LSS can ignite acute, potentially debilitating symptoms, which may include:
Many people with advanced stages of arthritis-induced lumbar spinal stenosis experience various degrees of lower back pain.
Unnatural compression on spinal nerves may eventually result in sciatica, or a burning ache that radiates from the buttocks down the leg. Progressive sciatica can even present as foot pain as well.
Tingling In Lower Extremities
Not all patients suffer from a combination of burning discomfort, tingling, and numbness that circulates throughout their lower extremities. However, for some people with LSS, the increased pressure on the vertebral column can cause paresthesia, or "pins and needles" tingling and numbness throughout the legs and buttocks.
Once the pressure triggered by LSS advances to critical levels, patients may experience a leg weakness or even "foot drop" where the soles of the feet uncontrollably hit the ground when ambulatory.
Seeking Relief From Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Unmanaged LSS symptoms can have far-reaching consequences on mobility and functionality. While some patients find that leaning forward when sitting expands the space around the spinal cord and temporarily mitigates discomfort, a sedentary position adjustment does not deliver a viable or sustainable solution to this chronic pain condition.
Additionally, many individuals with LSS experience degenerative progression. As a result, even the most routine activities, such as standing up or walking, may ignite crippling aches and burning sensations throughout their spine and lower body, making consistent, effective treatment a must to retain basic functioning and quality of life.
Previous generations of patients relied heavily on a wide range of therapies and treatments to counteract the lower backache and limited mobility associated with LSS, including physical therapy, steroid, injections, anti-inflammatory medications, spinal fusion, and even open spine surgery.
However, new technology and innovations have given rise to MILD. This relatively recent treatment process provides an effective, viable alternative to some of the more conservative and invasive LSS therapy options.
What You Need To Know About The Effective Treatment Course known as "MILD"
If you're suffering from moderate to severe lumbar spinal stenosis, you may be a candidate for the MILD procedure. Also known as minimally invasive lumbar decompression, MILD is explicitly designed to treat patients experiencing LSS symptoms due to the thickening of the spine's ligaments. This new, less disruptive treatment can deliver chronic pain relief for patients who are unable or unwilling to pursue more invasive procedures such as a spinal fusions, laminectomy, or foraminotomy.
MILD is performed entirely through a 1-cm incision made in the patient's back. A trained and certified MILD physician uses imaging machines and specialized instruments to systematically navigate throughout the spinal cord, targeting and eliminating excessive ligaments and small bony structures.
Removing unnecessary tissue and organic matter reduces lumbar nerve root compression and restores the spinal canal pathway, resulting in lower pain levels as well as enhanced function and mobility.
MILD delivers several significant advantages to patients with LSS, such as:
Typically, the entire MILD process is completed in one hour.
Most minimally invasive lumbar decompression patients return home on the same day of their procedure.
MILD uses no implants or sutures. As a result, most patients enjoy a fairly brief recovery period and can return to work within just a few days. Note: Some patients will still require doctor-prescribed rehabilitation and/or medication following the decompression process.
Although still a recently-approved treatment, minimally invasive lumbar decompression has been performed on tens of thousands of patients and has already established proven results. Several studies conducted on the procedure show that most people have a positive post-procedure experience, including:
- Increased physical mobility and functionality allowing patients to walk further and stand longer
- Fewer presenting symptoms, including lower rates of tingling, burning, numbness, and muscle weakness
- No major complications stemming from the procedure itself or use of related devices
Most importantly, minimally invasive lumbar decompression does not change the structural integrity of the spine. If necessary, patients may still consider more invasive open surgery options after MILD to further relieve chronic pain symptoms from LSS.
Contact Florida Pain Relief Centers For More Information
If you're suffering from LSS symptoms, Florida Pain Relief Centers can help. Our certified physicians are compassionate and experienced innovators in the field, successfully performing some of the very first MILD procedures in the region. Contact us today to learn more about how minimally invasive lumbar decompression can lower pain levels and increase your mobility, functionality, and overall quality of life.