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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Another “Gift” of Aging - 03/10/2014

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Another “Gift” of Aging

Release Date: March 10, 2014
Jeff Jacobson, M.D., FAANS
Jeff Jacobson, M.D., FAANS

Bethesda, Md., (March 10, 2014) – Older Americans are enjoying more active lifestyles than ever before. While this is great news, there are physical effects of the aging process that are not cause for celebration. An aging spine can lead to a variety of conditions that may affect your ability to enjoy your golden years. Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Jeff Jacobson, who practices at Suburban Hospital, helps shed some light on one of these conditions: lumbar spinal stenosis.

Stenosis means a narrowing of a vessel or channel in the body. Spinal stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, causing pain. Stenosis can occur at any level of the spine: cervical, thoracic or lumbar. Lumbar, the more common form of spinal stenosis, is a degenerative form of arthritis in the spine that results in the compression of the spinal nerves that run down the legs.

Dr. Jacobson warns against neglecting the symptoms. “If you ignore the symptoms, such as weakness in the legs or unsteadiness when walking, you may become more immobile,” he said. “A significant number of patients can live their lives without surgery, but you have to treat the condition and modify behaviors.”

The first step, says Dr. Jacobson, is contacting your primary care physician to determine the exact problem and discuss treatment options.

“While lumbar stenosis is a progressive condition that cannot be prevented or cured, it can be managed,” he said. “The goal of treatment is to minimize symptoms.”

About Suburban Hospital
Suburban Hospital, a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, is a not-for-profit, community-based hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, that has served Montgomery County and Northwest DC for more than 70 years. Suburban Hospital is distinguished by a cutting-edge stroke program; level II trauma center; centers of excellence in cardiac care, orthopedics and joint replacement surgery, neurosciences and oncology; state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools; and affiliations with major health care organizations like the neighboring National Institutes of Health. For more information, find us on Facebook or visit

For the Media


Debra Scheinberg