Is surgery an option for spinal narrowing?

Spinal narrowing, also called spinal stenosis or canal stenosis, is a condition in which the spinal canal becomes smaller, limiting the space available for the spinal cord. This narrowing is typically the result of an underlying spinal condition, such as a herniated disc or a bone spur that protrudes into the spinal canal or other nerve pathways. When the narrowing results in pressure or compression on the spinal cord, it can cause symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and more. If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal narrowing, you may be wondering if surgery is the right treatment option for you.

Treatment options for spinal narrowing

Generally, surgery is not the first option that a physician will recommend to treat symptoms of spinal narrowing. Instead, conservative options should be explored first, as they are often able to adequately alleviate spinal narrowing symptoms. Conservative treatment options include:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medications
  • Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
  • Physical therapy and low-impact exercise to strengthen and stretch the neck or back
  • Wearing a brace or practicing good posture to reduce pressure on the spine
  • Following a healthy lifestyle, including having a healthy diet, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption

These methods can be combined for faster and potentially more effective symptom relief. In many cases, some combination of these treatments will be all that is needed to manage spinal narrowing symptoms. If after several months they do not help improve your condition, then it may be time to consider spinal narrowing surgery.

Surgery at Laser Spine Institute

Spinal narrowing surgery can be performed as a traditional open procedure or using a minimally invasive technique, and both options are effective at addressing the underlying cause of the narrowing. However, many patients considering surgery prefer minimally invasive options, as they require a smaller incision and spare more of the surrounding healthy tissue, leading to a shorter recovery time for patients.^

At Laser Spine Institute, we specialize in minimally invasive spinal procedures to treat a variety of spine conditions, including spinal narrowing. If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a no-cost MRI review.*