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Can pregnancy worsen my spinal stenosis?

By April 18, 2010 - 4:39am
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I am 26 and recently diagnosed with foraminal lumbar spinal stenosis and spondylosis. My husband and I had hoped to stat a family this year, but the doctors cannot find a treatment for the severe back pain I am experiencing. I have not been able to work for 3 months now and I am in pain every day. I of course want to wait to get pregnant until after they find a treatment for the pain, but I am losing hope in the doctors. Any advice?

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EmpowHER Guest

Pregnancy will absolutely irritate this situation, as would plain weight gain. Often throughout pregnancy women suffer from sciatica which is also a trouble with the lumbar spine. Look intended for new in http://www.spinalstenosis.org/.

October 28, 2014 - 10:05am
EmpowHER Guest

i am 30 yrs old. i was diagnosed with arthrosis (lower back) spinal stnosis (lower back) and several buldging disks..i just got married and i want to have a baby although my husband doesnt want me in anymore pain than i already am. will my pain worsen if we decide to go through with it?

May 1, 2012 - 10:33am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis and lumbar spondylosis. I had a T-lift, laminectomy and fusion from L4-S1 in January '09. I had the right side of the hardware removed in September '11 and am now 35 weeks pregnant. To be honest the pregnancy hasn't added any pain, it has simply made the pain harder to manage because I didn't want to give the baby any narcotics. If you decide to get pregnant, ask your doctors for a T.E.N.S. Unit and Flexeril. These can help you through the hard times like when it hurts you just want to jump out of your skin and run away as fast as you can. Just remember the pregnancy is only temporary and you will have someone to take care of you when they grow up!

June 11, 2012 - 12:58pm

Thank you for the quick response! I have been sent to numerous doctors, none of which dealt with the back pain, they thought it was a pelvic/bladder problem. I finally convinced them to do an MRI which showed the stenosis in the lumbar spine. They also found that I have spondylosis, so the disks throughout the lumbar region are bulging and the vertebrae are growing osteophytes. The L5 has already fused with the SI. No one has recommended physical therapy yet, which I find strange. The doctors just keep throwing narcotics at me for pain. I will check out the links you sent. I will hopefully be getting referred to a surgeon this week. Thank you so much for the advice!

April 18, 2010 - 12:36pm

Hi AKnight316-

I'm sorry you are going through this, because spinal stenosis is painful and difficult. There are treatments, but at this point they are most likely surgical. We have a page on spinal stenosis: https://www.empowher.com/condition/spinal-stenosis

I am wondering what type of specialist you've been seeing. I suggest an orthospine or neurospine surgeon. There are arguments over which is better. I've worked with both, and the better surgeon is always the one who does more of the type of surgery you need.

Pregnancy will definitely irritate this condition, as would plain weight gain. Often during pregnancy women suffer from sciatica which is also a problem with the lumbar spine. It's from the pressure in the area that comes with being pregnant.

Spinal stenosis is dangerous if your spine is unstable and left untreated. You can end up with permanent spine and nerve damage. If you wait too long to treat it, the nerves just don't recover. I'm guessing if it's been going on for three months and you've been off work that you've been through physical therapy. You can also get epidural steroid injections, which help some people. But ultimately, spinal stenosis means pressure on your spinal cord, and that is something that must be dealt with, especially at your age. Otherwise you may be looking at a lifetime of pain.

The American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons has a good page on spinal stenosis. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00329 as does Mayo Clinic http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/spinal-stenosis/DS00515

If conservative treatments such as medication and therapy have left you unable to work, surgery may be your next option.

I wish you luck and if I can help further, please let me know.

April 18, 2010 - 7:36am
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