Q. I’ve been told I have spinal stenosis, which causes pain in my lower back and down my leg. Should I have surgery to fix this?
Surgery is one option for spinal stenosis, but it often can be treated without surgery. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal or of one of the openings where nerves leave the spinal canal. This reduces the space for nerves, which can become compressed. Stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine, but it commonly affects the lower spine. You have pain in your leg because the sciatic nerve, which extends from the low back, through the buttocks and down the leg, often is affected. Pinching of this nerve can cause pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the legs.