The narrowing of the spinal canal (the passageway through which the spinal cord and nerve roots travel) is referred to as spinal stenosis. This condition can affect the three regions of the spine: the lumbar (lower) part of the spine, the thoracic (middle) region and the cervical (neck) region. The location of a patient’s spinal stenosis dictates where he or she experiences the symptoms of this condition, which include pain, stiffness, numbing and cramping. Severity of symptoms may vary from patient to patient, but many can enjoy some relief with conservative and alternative treatments.
Before suggesting surgery, neck and back specialists often attempt to lessen the severity of a patient’s symptoms with conservative treatments. These treatments may include:
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Physical therapy
- Use of a brace
- Corticosteroid injections
While many patients can experience relief thanks to these conservative forms of treatment, some may decide to explore alternative treatments.
Patients with spinal stenosis have many alternative treatment options available to them. Some experience results when an alternative therapy is performed on its own, while others receive optimal benefits when combining conservative and alternative treatments. For patients with spinal stenosis, the alternative treatments listed below tend to be the most popular:
- Chiropractics – Chiropractors can assist in treating spinal stenosis by adjusting the spine to reduce the amount of pressure that is being placed on spinal nerves.
- Massage – Reducing the amount of tension in the muscles of the neck and back may relieve the pain associated with spinal stenosis.
- Acupuncture – This form of treatment is said to increase the body’s flow of energy by inserting needles into specific points on the body. Some evidence shows that acupuncture may increase the body’s release of endorphins, which can help to alleviate pain in some patients.
Be sure to consult your primary care physician before employing these methods of alternative therapy. Your physician may be able to refer you to a qualified, trusted professional who can provide the best treatment for your particular symptoms.
If conservative and alternative treatments provide little relief, there are still other options, including the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us for a free MRI or CT scan review and for more information.