MRI shows that I have stenosis at L-4. I have pain in my back and down the right leg, which can be really bad at times. I had one epidural injection which really worked, but the shot is now wearing off after about 6 weeks. I am going to schedule another injection. My chiropractor tells me not to have surgery for the stenosis. The stenosis in my case is not in the opening where the nerve leaves the spinal area but is in the spinal column. The passage at L-4 is triangular shaped instead of being almost round so there is pressure on the nerves. Has anyone had successful surgery for stenosis? Thanks for the information.
Yes, my surgery was mainly for stenosis at L5 and L6 (yes, I have 6 lumbar vertebrae). The stenosis was caused by arthritis, but I'm not sure exactly where on the vertebrae it occured... I saw the MRIs, but my memory is short... but I believe it was inside the spinal canal. Anyway, my surgery involved "whittling out" the bone spur material, combination laminectomy and laminotomy, inserting rods and screws for stability, and bone graft. I think I am a success story, although it is only 13 weeks post-op. My stenosis was causing pain and lots of numbness in one leg and foot. I was quickly losing my ability to walk. Now that problem seems to be completely gone. My pain is in other areas, but I don't think it is going to stop me from living a pretty normal life... which the stenosis was doing.
I had/have stenosis. I didn't have constant pain and wasn't on any pain meds but I had reached the point where I could hardly walk. My orthopedic spine specialist did a laminectomy and, because of spinal instability, fused me from L3-S1. If it hadn't been for the problem walking I don't think he could have justified going in just for the fusion. It's been seven months and I'm doing great---and no pain.
Thanks so much for your experience. It's good to hear that you had surgery and have no pain now. My chiropractor has told me to absolutely not to have surgery because there is such a low success rate. Maybe he only sees the failures. Thanks again.
The normal number of lumbar vertebrae is 5, but there are some people with either 4 or 6. I think it means that I have one more Lumbar vertebra and one less thoracic vertebra (not sure about that)... but I have 6 lumbar vertebrae... L1 only has little stumps where ribs would be attached. It just meant that the docs had to be very careful about their terminology when communicating about surgery preparation. Mary
Last edited by moderator2; 02-06-2005 at 08:54 AM.