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Lumbar spinal stenosis, the results of congenital and degenerative constriction of the neural canal and foramina leading to lumbosacral nerve root or cauda equina compression, is a common cause of disability in middle-aged and elderly patients. Advanced neuroradiologic imaging techniques have improved our ability to localize the site of nerve root entrapment in patients presenting with neurogenic claudication or painful radiculopathy. Although conservative medical management may be successful initially, surgical decompression by wide laminectomy or an intralaminar approach should be done in patients with serious or progressive pain or neurologic dysfunction. Because the early diagnosis and treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis may prevent intractable pain and the permanent neurologic sequelae of chronic nerve root entrapment, all physicians should be aware of the different neurologic presentations and the treatment options for patients with spinal stenosis.