Spinal Canal Narrowing

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a syndrome of low back, buttock, and leg pains brought on by walking and relieved by sitting. Nerve compression in the back leads to symptoms in the legs. This syndrome is also often called “neurogenic claudication.” The leg symptoms from lumbar spinal stenosis can be similar to symptoms from peripheral neuropathy, hip/knee arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease.


As we age and accumulate degenerative changes, the bulging of the discs, arthritis of the joints, and bone spur formation lead to progressive narrowing of the spinal canal. Over time, the spinal canal narrowing can compress the nerves and cause leg symptoms.

SymptomsX-ray of a spine with an arrow pointing to area that is demonstrating a narrow spinal canal.

  • Low back and/or buttock pain
  • Cramping leg pain and numbness/tingling
  • Difficulty standing
  • Difficulty walking
  • Heaviness and weakness in legs


Lumbar spinal stenosis is initially treated by medications, physical therapy, and/or injections. Decompression surgery may be necessary if conservative treatments fail.

Schedule an Appointment

Please call 984-974-6800 to schedule an imaging appointment at the UNC Hospitals Imaging Center or 984-974-4200 to schedule a clinic appointment at the UNC Hospitals Spine Center.  Referrals are not necessary

Fax: 984-974-6740

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