Stenosis …


Lumbar Stenosis Symptoms

When stenosis has developed in the lower back (Lumbar Spine), leg pain with walking may develop.

Leg pain with walking is medically known as claudication, and it can be caused by either arterial circulatory insufficiency (vascular claudication) or from spinal stenosis (neurogenic or pseudo-claudication). Leg pain from either condition will go away with rest, but with spinal stenosis the patient usually has to sit down for a few minutes to ease the leg and often low back pain, whereas leg pain from vascular claudication will go away if the patient simply stops walking.

For lumbar stenosis, flexing forward or sitting will open up the spinal canal by stretching the ligamentum flavum and will relieve the leg pain and other symptoms, but the symptoms will recur if the patient gets back into an upright posture. Numbness and tingling can accompany the pain, but true weakness is a rare symptom of spinal stenosis.

Over a year ago, I had spinal imaging done for my 50 checkup. I also had a bone density test, which came back clear. What they were not looking for then, when I had the scans done, were realized a few months ago, after I had another CT Scan on my lumbar region, that I wrote about here, during that time. I have spinal deterioration in my L-3, L-4 and L-5 vertebrae.

Since then, I was referred to a spinal surgeon and am still waiting on that to happen. That’s one problem with serious issues, when it comes to specialists here in Montreal, and as well, across Canada.

Hurry up and WAIT !!!

In order to minimize my pain that I’m currently dealing with, I’ve been seeing a Osteopath, not far from home, who does adjustments on my body. I have had two sessions already, and I had numbness in my right arm that was becoming a serious problem with my mobility and usage of my right arm. I still have some mobility issues with “reach” and “extension” with my right arm as it is.

In the last few months, I have developed Stenosis in my lower lumbar region, and this problem has seriously impacted my ability to walk distances. Here in Montreal, we don’t have a car, so where ever I have to go, it is either by Bus, Metro, or I walk.

Walking to the grocery store, three blocks from home has become a chore. When we went away for the wedding a couple of weeks ago, the pain got severe. When we were in Toronto and walked from Union Station to the CN Tower, it took us a while, because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath, and ease the pain in my legs because the pain feels like someone has set my calf’s on fire, or that I did some intense leg work in a gym.

I can’t go to the gym because my body is unable to do what I want it to do. FML !

On the way home, we got off the train here, close by home and took the Metro three stops to the station at the bottom of the hill (read:Tunnel), at Georges Vanier Metro. On the Orange Line.

Our building, where we live, sits at the top of that hill (read:Tunnel) There is a pedestrian walkway through the tunnel connecting the neighborhood above it, with the highway, Little Burgundy down the hill, and the Orange Line Station.

Walking that hill is a challenge, but for the longest time, I had been working on being able to walk the tunnel in one shot, without stopping. I had achieved that, on the down ward walk, but on the upward walk, all bets are off.

That night, after sitting in a train for five hours, I thought I’d be ok with walking the tunnel. I was wrong. We should have taken the Metro one more stop and connected with the Green Line Metro, which lands you on flat ground above the tunnel, three blocks from home, where the grocery store is.

But that night, I had to walk up the tunnel. I was in so much pain, I could hardly breathe. It took several attempts to get up the hill, carrying my luggage as it was. Hubby was dragging his suitcase which had wheels.

Stop and Start, Stop and Start, Stop and Start.

Right now I have to calculate where I need to go, and what the chances are that I can make that trip on my own, and not hire a taxi to drive me back three blocks to home with groceries.

Today, I walked that stretch, and did not have a problem. I had to buy a new granny cart, because I killed the one I had. I had used it so hard that one of the wheels broke off. It was the second cart like that, (that I had) that the wheels failed inside of six months, walking a stretch of three blocks back and forth.

The new cart I got today, has upgraded wheels and a sturdier frame and bag.

I walked the tunnel on Monday night, on the Down … I can do Down alright. But the uphill climb does a number on my legs, causing my calf’s to inflame with fire and pain. On Monday and Friday I usually take the orange line that connects me directly with the station, up-line at Laurier, I transfer to my bus for the second portion of that outbound trip.

On the way home I have to walk to the Laurier Station a number of blocks from the church, because of road construction on the return side of Laurier coming back to the station. No bus means you have to walk half a kilometer to the station.

Monday night, I waited for the 80 bus which connects me with a Green Line Station, Place des Arts, on the Green line a few stops from home, the trade-off for the 80 bus and no walking is waiting 30 minutes for a damned bus to come going towards the station.

I can walk the half kilometer and not have to stop. It seems that flat ground walking at certain times does not bother me, unlike other times.

I can never predict whether I can make a walk I need to make, before hand.


The other good news today was my suit from Australia arrived in the post today. Funny that when I had to wire the payment to Australia, the bank did the job for me, but we did not know, which direction the money would take to get to Australia.

It would either go East across Europe and down towards Australia, or it would go West, and cross the Pacific coast on towards Sydney.

When the company shipped my package from Sydney, I followed the delivery in real-time. Instead of coming East over the Pacific and across Canada, The package hopped a Westward DHL flight from Sydney to Frankfurt, Germany, where it was processed, and sent further Westwards towards Montreal.

Strange the paths that carriers take to get product around from one side of the world to the other.

I received a second package that came from Singapore the other day, and from Singapore that package traveled trans Pacific to Western Canada into Montreal.

Both packages took a week to get here. One by regular DHL and the other by Express DHL. Same time delivery, different shipping paths.

I did not expect my body to begin failing me at fifty …

Seems my body has its own agenda. And I am just an unwilling participant.

Not sure what I did to incur the wrath of my body, because the only heavy lifting I do is setting down chairs and tables. I’ve been doing the same actions for more than sixteen years. I guess I have worn my back out lifting heavy tables and moving them.

Now I am on light duty. All my friends know I cannot lift or move any longer, so I do simple tasks. I make coffee and everyone else does the heavy lifting for me.

The perks of being older and sober a long time and having friends who will step up and help me when I need help.

Hey, at least I am still alive, twenty-five years after the plague …

Grateful for small mercies.


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