Diseases & Conditions

When Getting Up Gets You Down

A frustrated patient tells his physician,

"When I stand for any period of time or when I walk for any distance, my legs go numb. They just won't move." Another patient laments, "I can pedal my bike for hours with no problems, but if I try to walk for five minutes, the pain in my legs kills me."

These are the classic symptoms of spinal stenosis, a disorder that is common among individuals over age 60, according to Daniel Mazanec, M.D., vice chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Spine Institute and head of the Section of Spine Medicine. In fact, he points out, it is the single most common reason for spine surgery in older adults.