INTRODUCTION: Lumbar spinal canal stenosis (LSCS) seems to be common in the elderly. However, there have been few reports on the prevalence and the time course of LSCS in community.
METHODS: In this study, 1111 people (390 male and 721 female) agreed to participate and interviewed in 2005 and 2006. The participants comprised approximately 13.4% of the local population. The presence of LSCS was assessed by a validated diagnostic support tool for LSCS (Konno, et al. 2007). Roland‐Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) for disease‐specific QOL and SF‐36 for health‐related QOL (HR‐QOL) were used.
RESULTS:1. Time course of LSCS: In 2005, 270 people (24.3%) were judged as LSCS positive and 841 subjects (75.7%) as LSCS negative. In 2006, 116 of 270 subjects (43.0%) in LSCS positive group were still in LSCS positive group and 154 subjects (57.0%) moved to LSCS negative group. On the other hand, 771 of 841 subjects (91.7%) in LSCS negative group were still in LSCS negative group and 70 subjects (8.3%) moved to LSCS positive group.
2. Change of QOL with time course of LSCS: Disease –specific QOL in LSCS positive group was much lower than that in LSCS negative group. When subjects moved from positive to negative group, disease‐specific QOL improved. Similarly, when subjects moved from negative to positive group, disease‐specific QOL worsened.
The change of HR‐QOL, especially QOL of physical function was similar to that of disease –specific QOL. When LSCS moved from negative to positive, QOL of physical function worsened, however, QOL of mental health maintained.
DISCUSSION: In more than half of LSCS positive subjects, their subjective symptoms improved in community. This indicates that conservative treatment should be considered to the first choice of LSCS treatment in community level. With symptoms in LSCS improving or worsening, disease –specific and health‐related QOL improve or worsen.