Spinal cord compression treatments

Spinal cord compression is a condition usually referred to as spinal stenosis, which means that the spinal canal has narrowed, causing the spinal cord to become compressed within the canal. Many times, spinal cord compression is a result of another degenerative spine condition, such as a herniated disc, bulging disc spondylolisthesis or bone spurs. These conditions are asymptomatic unless the narrowing spinal canal presses against a nerve root, which will result in local and radiating pain.

Patients diagnosed with spinal cord compression or spinal stenosis can find relief through conservative, nonsurgical treatments or through minimally invasive stabilization surgery. If you have been diagnosed with one of these spine conditions, you should consult your physician for treatment recommendations. Your physician can accurately diagnose the location and severity of your condition through an MRI report or CT scan. This information will help your physician determine whether you should undergo conservative or surgical treatment for pain relief.

Conservative treatment for spinal cord compression

Patients with mild spinal cord compression may be able to find lasting pain relief through conservative therapies that focus on lengthening and realigning the spine. Usually, the spinal canal narrows because a component of the spine moves out of alignment, causing the space between the spine and the walls of the spinal canal to diminish. Therefore, treatments that focus on realigning the components of the spine and lengthening the spine back into normal position will help to increase the space between the spine and the spinal canal.

The most effective conservative treatments for spinal narrowing or spinal cord compression are yoga, chiropractic care and physical therapy. Your physician can help you determine the rate and frequency at which you should perform these treatments. Always tell your physician if you are changing your treatment regimen or if you experience pain or discomfort during or after your treatments. Your physician can work with you to find the best treatment routine to fit your needs and schedule.

Minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spinal cord compression

While mild cases of spinal cord compression can be effectively treated with conservative methods of treatment, moderate to severe cases of spinal cord compression usually require surgical treatment to relieve the pain and symptoms of the condition and restore mobility to the spine.

A minimally invasive stabilization (MIS) procedure can be used to relieve symptoms associated with spinal cord compression. Generally, spinal cord compression progresses to moderate or severe when a component of the spine shows advanced signs of damage. For example, a bulging disc is a disc that has not only moved out of alignment with the spine due to vertebral compression, but it has become so compressed that it tears open and leaks inner disc fluid into the spinal canal. Even if conservative treatments could relieve the pressure off a severely bulged or herniated disc, the extensive damage of the disc is a liability for the spine’s stability and mobility.

During a minimally invasive stabilization surgery at Laser Spine Institute, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc or vertebra through a small incision in the spine. Unlike traditional open back fusion that cuts through the muscles surrounding the spine and increases the risk of infection and blood loss, our minimally invasive techniques do not disturb the surrounding muscles or soft tissue. Once the damaged disc or vertebra is removed, an insert will be planted in the empty space to immediately stabilize the spine.

Learn more about minimally invasive stabilization surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, we believe that patient-centered care is the crux of good health care. That means our patients receive the best treatment options in an environment of care and compassion. Because of our dedication to medical advancement and patient-centered care, our minimally invasive procedures have earned a patient satisfaction score of 96 and patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100.^

For more information about how you can join the more than 75,000 patients who have found relief from chronic neck or back pain, please contact our Care Team. We are here to help you find the best treatment options for your spine care needs.