What Is Spinal Stenosis?

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

“Spinal stenosis” refers to a condition in which the path for nerves within the spine has narrowed. That path for nerves is called the “spinal canal.” Broadly speaking, the spine is made of three things, as in the illustration: ① bone, ② intervertebral discs, and ③ nerves.

The condition in which the spinal canal in the lower back is narrowed is called "lumbar spinal stenosis." When lumbar spinal canal stenosis is caused by instability of the lumbar spine, physical movement often causes pain.


When you get spinal stenosis, numbness or pain appears in your low back and legs. For example, it is similar to how your legs become numb if you kneel and sit back on your heels for a long time and pressure is placed on the sciatic nerves on the backs of your thighs, and if the pressure continues without stopping, pain appears in your legs. Furthermore, because pressure on the nerves is not strong in symptoms’ early stages, even if you do not feel numbness or pain in most situations, pressure becomes strong when you exercise, and pain and numbness may appear with intensity. That type of phenomenon in which numbness and pain occur when you exercise is called “intermittent claudication.” It is also called “intermittent claudication” when your calf muscles hurt and you cannot continue walking.

What are the causes of spinal stenosis?

Difficulty walking, pain or numbness in the thighs, pain while walking and then needing to rest to walk again, pain in the lower back when stretching the back, pain when standing, pain when rising up and out of bed, are some of the walking impediments that are attributed to spinal stenosis, and difficulty to walk due to spinal stenosis, and the inability to walk without resting in the middle of a walk are some of the many symptoms that interfere with daily life that are characterized as originating in the nerves.
There are several possible causes for these symptoms which put pressure on the nerves, which have only been identified in recent years.

  • Cracks have appeared in the fibrous ring.

  • The intervertebral disc has collapsed, the bone is deformed, and pressure has been placed on the nerve.

Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

Conservative treatment, surgical treatment and DST treatment
Conservative treatment is often the first choice for spinal stenosis, and medication and therapeutic exercise are the first methods sought to improve your condition. When there is no improvement at all with conservative treatment, or when the pain/numbness is so intense that you have trouble walking or urinating because of the pain or numbness, surgical treatment may be an option.
The method of treatment for spinal stenosis at our clinic is the DST method. The DST procedure is an incisionless, ambulatory treatment for low back pain that can be used to treat patients with high surgical risk or who have pain and numbness resulting from previous surgery. Patients who have had a relapse can also be treated. As this condition is caused by the aging process, many people in Japan today suffer from it as a result of the aging of the population. So, if you are suffering from spinal stenosis, please visit our clinic.

How Is Our Clinic’s Treatment Effective for Spinal Stenosis?

First, since surgery for spinal stenosis exists, we would like simply to do a comparison.
Surgery began typically to be performed in the 1960s, but bone was removed, immobilizing the area was sometimes necessary, the risks of surgery were high, and it was not a treatment of the root cause, so the high recurrence rate of 30-46% (within 2 years) was a problem. Now people have figured out how to use endoscopes and make the scar small, but by the same principle, surgery does not treat the root cause, so the risks and recurrence rate remain high.

Spinal fusion (surgery)

Intervertebral disc treatment taking into consideration the problems with surgery explained above began in the 1980s. At present, DST (Discseel™ treatment) has also begun. The principle of DST is that it is a treatment that, by improving intervertebral disc function, can improve the burden on the bones, at the same time eliminating pressure on the nerves. DST’s distinguishing features are that the risks are extremely low because it just repairs intervertebral discs, and the recurrence rate is low because it treats the root cause of spinal stenosis.

Since this treatment has a low-risk and low recurrence rate, the toll on the body is minimal.
In addition, since the needle is very thin, the wound left is small and usually closes in a week, with no scar apparent.
At our hospital, the consultations are conducted in the morning and the treatments are performed in the afternoon, which makes it easier for patients who live far away or overseas to undergo the treatment. The procedure is performed as an ambulatory treatment. We can also conduct remote image diagnosis in advance to determine if DST is applicable.

  • Contrast radiography is continuously performed. Contrast radiography makes evident the presence or absence of intervertebral disc damage.

  • A tissue-adhesive agent is administered to the damaged part of the intervertebral disc.

  • Because the agent is made of biological material, allergies and side effects are extremely rare.

  • Images before and after the treatment.

How to prevent spinal stenosis?

It is important to exercise and have a correct posture to prevent spinal stenosis.
It is also important to exercise after the treatment to prevent recurrence due to spinal stenosis.
In your daily life, avoid lifting of heavy objects without bending your knees and refrain from assuming uncomfortable positions.
We also recommend moderate walking, as the absence of walking can cause muscle weakness, pain and make it difficult to walk.
Since we work in association with a rehabilitation facility specialized in back pain, we can also provide exercise guidance and full-scale training.Please visit us at https://ilm-fitness.com/

Questions and answers about spinal canal stenosis

  • question

    Which symptoms will prompt the necessity of a surgery for spinal stenosis?


    Surgery may be an option if the patient has trouble with daily activities, such as difficulty walking or urinating, or if the pain or numbness is so severe that it cannot be tolerated.

  • question

    Will I lose my ability to walk in the future if I fail to have spinal stenosis surgery?


    It all depends on the patient's symptoms and condition, but if the symptoms are severe, the patient may eventually lose the ability to walk.

  • question

    What other treatments are available for spinal stenosis?


    The other options are all surgical procedures: Spinal fusion or endoscopic surgery to stabilize your back by shaving the bones and discs before securing the bones in place.

  • question

    Can't conservative treatment cure spinal stenosis?


    No, it cannot, because the cure can never be complete. Treatments intended to relieve pain and numbness cannot be considered as root treatments. DST is the only treatment that can repair the discs that are causing the pain; therefore, it is the only treatment that can alleviate the pain at root level.

  • question

    I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and underwent spinal fusion, but the pain has not subsided. Can the DST procedure help me?


    Once we have diagnosed your condition, we will be able to treat you even if you have already undergone a spinal fusion surgery in the past.
    Please feel free to contact us for a consultation.

International Lumbago Clinic and International Lumbago Medical Fitness Center collaborating on herniated disc-related back pain treatment

Our clinic offers a variety of outpatient disc herniation treatment methods, among which is the DST procedure that can effectively repair and regenerate vertebral discs. However, sometimes the cause of back pain may also be related to the adjacent muscles, joints, and ligaments. For this reason, we highly recommend that medical fitness therapy is combined with disc herniation treatment. The International Lumbago Medical Fitness Center in cooperation with our clinic offers an intensive short-term medical fitness course for patients from abroad.)

International Lumbago Clinic

Outpatient Disc Herniation Treatment

Improves symptoms related to medical conditions
in the low back causing nerve root irritation

International Medical Fitness Center

Special Back Pain Rehabilitation

Improves symptoms related to medical conditions of the joints,
muscules and ligaments in the low back area

5 Types of Outpatient Treatment for Low Back Pain

  • The DST Method (Discseel™)

    An intervertebral disc treatment that began in the United States in the 2010s. Can be suitable for a wide range of conditions, including problems in patients after surgery. It is the only (※2)treatment that can repair and regenerate intervertebral discs.
    ※2 According to research by Operation Japan (Ltd.)

    Click here for details.
  • The PIDD Method (Implant)

    An implant intervertebral disc treatment that has been conducted since the 2000s. As with PLDD, results without injury to intervertebral discs can be anticipated. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.
  • Hybrid Laser Treatment

    A treatment that combines the benefits of PLDD and PODD. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.
  • The PODD Method (Ozone)

    An ozone intervertebral disc treatment that has been conducted mainly in Europe since the 1990s. It can be suitable for a wide range of conditions.

    Click here for details.
  • The PLDD Method (Laser)

    An outpatient, laser intervertebral disc treatment that has been well known worldwide since the 1980s. This treatment is suitable for herniated discs only.

    Click here for details.