Conservative canal stenosis treatments, such as medication, often deliver sufficient relief

Conservative canal stenosis treatments like medication (e.g., pain relievers and anti-inflammatories) can often preclude the need for surgery. Occasionally, surgical intervention is recommended to address debilitating neck or back pain associated with spinal stenosis. However, such recommendations are generally made only as a last resort when a patient’s symptoms do not respond sufficiently to several weeks or months of conservative treatment. The majority of stenosis patients are able to find adequate relief through medication and other non-surgical approaches.

What do canal stenosis treatments like medication target?

Canal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal becomes excessively narrow, usually due to the presence of excess tissue, like intervertebral disc matter or bone spurs within its confines. This type of anatomical debris is often produced by degenerative spine conditions, such as a herniated disc or osteoarthritis. If excess tissue constricts the spinal canal and exerts pressure on a sensitive nerve root or the spinal cord itself, uncomfortable symptoms can arise, including localized and radiating pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness.

In general, the goal of conservative canal stenosis treatments is to manage the symptoms of neural compression. For this purpose, over-the-counter and prescription medications are often very effective.

Types of medications used to treat canal stenosis

Some of the medications that are often recommended by physicians to relieve the symptoms of canal stenosis include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain
  • Acetaminophen, which can relieve pain but does not address inflammation
  • Opiate pain relievers, which can alleviate severe pain that is unresponsive to over-the-counter medications
  • Epidural steroid injections, which can lessen severe inflammation around a nerve root

Surgical canal stenosis treatments

If the symptoms of canal stenosis do not abate with several weeks or months of medication or other non-surgical treatments, a physician might recommend surgery to widen the spinal canal and decompress the affected neural structure. Prospective patients should be aware that a highly invasive open spine procedure is not the only way to accomplish this. Some patients are candidates for the minimally invasive alternatives perfected by the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and, as such, do not require overnight hospitalization or a lengthy rehabilitation period.^

If conservative treatments like over-the-counter or prescription medication have not provided sufficient relief for your spinal stenosis symptoms, you might be interested in learning about surgical canal stenosis treatments, such as the minimally invasive surgeries performed at Laser Spine Institute. Please contact us for a review of your recent MRI or CT scan to determine if you’re a candidate for one of our state-of-the-art procedures.