Alternative treatments for spinal narrowing

By Michael Perry, M.D.

There are a variety of alternative treatments for spinal narrowing, also called spinal stenosis. Alternative treatments are practices that are considered to be outside the scope of mainstream medicine. Patients seek them out for reasons that include personal beliefs or the feeling that other options have been exhausted. In some cases, it comes from a desire to explore the full range of options before committing to an invasive surgical procedure.

This spinal condition can have a variety of causes, though the most common are injury and degenerative spine conditions that occur from years of wear and tear on the spine. Osteophytes, ruptured discs and bulging discs can constrict the spinal canal and put pressure on nearby spinal nerves, causing pain, tingling, numbness and weakness.

If you are looking into alternative options because you haven’t gotten satisfactory relief from conventional conservative treatments it is important to keep your doctor informed of your decisions. You can even ask if there is a practitioner that he or she could personally or professionally recommend.

Types of alternative treatment for spinal narrowing

The goal of alternative treatments is to relieve symptoms by taking a holistic approach to improve overall health. Many of these options rely on traditional methods and older practices that have not been integrated into modern medical practice. For some patients, these options can be complementary to their doctor-prescribed treatment methods and can sometimes be the missing piece of treatment needed to find the relief needed to resume normal activity. Common options include:

  • Yoga. Yoga is a series of stretching and strength-building poses that also focus on rhythmic breathing. Some patients find that the strengthening and stretching the muscles of their body with yoga helps to relieve pain.
  • Acupuncture. This is the insertion of needles into various points along the body with the aim of confusing pain signals being sent from compressed spinal nerves. There is also some evidence that it can stimulate blood flow to an affected area, which may help with healing.
  • Massage. Massage can help increase circulation, which promotes healing and releases muscle tension that could be exacerbating the pain of spinal narrowing.

Additional conservative treatments

Talk to your doctor about using alternative treatments in conjunction with conservative methods like pain medication, lifestyle changes, hot and cold compresses or epidural steroid injections. Many patients may be able to manage their symptoms nonsurgically, but for those who are still struggling to achieve lasting pain relief after weeks or months, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We specialize in minimally invasive outpatient surgery that is an alternative to the risks and lengthy recuperation^ of an open spine surgery.

Contact us for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a potential candidate for one of our procedures.