When is spinal narrowing surgery necessary?

If you have been diagnosed with spinal narrowing, or spinal stenosis, you may be wondering what your treatment options are and when surgery is necessary.

What is spinal narrowing?

Spinal narrowing is the narrowing of the open space in the spine. The narrowing creates excess pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal narrowing can happen anywhere in the spine but most commonly occurs in the lower back and the neck. Symptoms usually include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. In severe cases, there can even be complications with bladder and bowel function.

What are conservative treatment options for spinal narrowing?

In order to control pain caused by spinal narrowing, your physician may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Your physician may also prescribe muscle relaxers, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs or opioids depending on the extent of your pain. Physical therapy and exercise is typically part of the treatment plan for spinal narrowing. Physical therapy and exercise can help to build strength and endurance and to maintain flexibility and stability of the spine. Steroid injections can also help to reduce swelling and inflammation and keep pain under control.

When is it time to consider spinal narrowing surgery?

Surgery may be considered immediately for patients with bladder and bowel complications or muscle weakness that interferes with walking. If conservative treatment options discussed above fail to relieve your pain, talk to your physician about surgical options. The goal of spinal narrowing surgery is to relieve pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord and create more space in the spinal canal.

What are the different types of spinal narrowing surgery?

If you are considering spinal narrowing surgery, Laser Spine Institute can help you determine if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to help treat spinal narrowing.

If you have spinal narrowing, contact one of our experts and request your no cost MRI review* to determine whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.