Canal stenosis treatment options

Spinal canal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes constricted or narrows, usually as a result of the natural aging process of the spine.

While this is a common spine condition, some people never know that it has developed in their spine. That is because most cases of spinal stenosis are not symptomatic. The narrowing of the spinal canal only results in symptoms when a nerve root becomes compressed in the narrowing walls. When this happens, symptoms of local and radiating pain may occur.

Canal stenosis treatment only becomes necessary if the narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) compresses a nerve root and causes pain and discomfort. This condition may occur very slowly with aging or rapidly when a related spine condition, such as a herniated disc or bone spur, pinches a nerve root or presses on the spinal cord. If these symptoms develop, you should seek medical treatment to help you find pain relief without losing any quality of life. Left untreated, degenerative spine conditions like spinal canal stenosis will worsen and may eventually prevent you from doing the activities in life you enjoy.

Conservative canal stenosis treatment

More often than not, the symptoms associated with spinal canal stenosis can be managed using conservative treatment. These methods of treatment include:

  • Analgesics, such as acetaminophen, to relieve pain.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen or indomethacin, to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Corticosteroid injections into the area of the pinched nerve to reduce inflammation.
  • Lifestyle changes such as weight loss and daily stretching.
  • Prescribed exercises and/or physical therapy to maintain motion of the spine, strengthen abdominal and back muscles and build endurance, all of which help stabilize the spine.
  • For lumbar spinal stenosis, a lumbar brace or corset is used to provide some support and help the patient regain mobility and strength.

Often, conservative treatments can be combined to help patients find quicker, more effective pain relief. You should always consult a medical professional before combining treatments or beginning a new medication to ensure your safety throughout your treatment regimen.

If conservative canal stenosis treatment is not enough

If chronic symptoms of stenosis persist after several weeks or months of conservative canal stenosis treatment, nerve decompression surgery may be recommended.

Before consenting to traditional spine surgery, you should research all of your alternative options to see if there is a safer and effective method of surgery available, such as the minimally invasive procedures at Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive surgery uses advanced medical techniques to treat spinal stenosis and any related spine conditions through a small, minimally invasive incision. Unlike traditional open back surgery, which requires the muscles around the spine to be cut and detached, our surgery is performed with precision and does not impact the surrounding muscles. This minimally invasive approach to the spine allows our patients to experience lower risks and a shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose traditional spine surgery.

Depending on the cause of spinal stenosis, you may be recommended to undergo minimally invasive decompression surgery, which removes a small portion of bone or disc that is compressing a nerve, or minimally invasive stabilization surgery, which removes the entire damaged bone or disc and replaces it with a bone graft or artificial disc. This allows our patients to experience a more natural healing process without the limited mobility that patients who undergo traditional open back surgery experience, usually caused by the metal cage that is used to fuse the spine.

For more information about the minimally invasive surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute, contact our team today. Our spine care experts can review your MRI report and help you determine the best treatment option available for your needs.