Three ways to ease pain from spinal narrowing

Spinal narrowing is a condition that affects the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord. Spinal narrowing is most often caused by other spinal conditions, including osteoarthritis, herniated discs or bone spurs, which are typically the result of the natural aging process.

While the actual narrowing of the spinal canal does not necessarily lead to symptoms, a pinched nerve root or compressed spinal cord within the narrowing canal can result in pain and discomfort. For example, patients with spinal narrowing often experience localized neck and/or back pain, as well as radiating pain, numbness and tingling in other areas of the body.

Easing pain

In many cases, the symptoms associated with spinal narrowing can be treated with conservative, nonsurgical methods. Three ways to ease pain from spinal narrowing include:

  1. Medication — A physician may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to relieve symptoms of pain.
  2. Heat and ice therapy — Heating or icing the lower back can be an effective way to relieve spinal narrowing symptoms. Heat will relax the muscles while ice will numb the affected area.
  3. Exercise — Gentle stretching, yoga, and Pilates can help improve a patient’s range of motion, while low-impact exercises, such as walking and swimming, can effectively reduce painful symptoms.

Patients with spinal narrowing may also wish to try lifestyle changes, such as losing excess body weight and quitting smoking, as well as alternative therapies like chiropractic treatment, yoga, acupuncture and therapeutic massage. In most cases, conservative and alternative treatments are successful in managing the symptoms associated with spinal narrowing. However, for patients whose symptoms persist after weeks or months, surgery may be the best option.

Surgical treatments

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several minimally invasive surgical treatments for patients with spinal narrowing. We perform all of our surgeries on an outpatient basis which offers patients a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today for a no-cost MRI review.*