Five things to do if you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, you may be unsure of what comes next. Truthfully, the answer depends on your current symptoms, the degree of your spinal narrowing and what is causing the condition. For some people, the condition is a minor inconvenience and only a few small changes are needed. For others, it is debilitating to the point that immediate treatment is a necessity.
Step one: assemble your treatment team
The first thing to do after you’re diagnosed with spinal stenosis is to find a trustworthy physician or orthopedic specialist. You’ll want your treatment team to not only consider your diagnosis and medical history, but also your personal preferences and individual response to treatment. The symptoms of spinal stenosis can often be managed with nonsurgical therapies, but some experimentation may be necessary. You’ll want to work with a physician who respectfully considers your feedback regarding what works for you and what doesn’t.
Once you have gotten things started with a physician or orthopedist, you can:
- Ask for a referral to a physical therapist. Exercise is an important part of keeping your spine healthy, and a physical therapist can help you deal with the specific challenges associated with spinal narrowing.
- Explore complementary and alternative therapies. Even though spinal stenosis can usually be managed with conservative treatments such as medications, hot/cold therapy and injections, adding in nontraditional therapies such as yoga, acupuncture and therapeutic massage can also help you gain additional benefits.
- Confide in a family member or friend. Depending on how severe it becomes, spinal stenosis can make it challenging to complete certain activities, including housework, driving and grocery shopping. It’s helpful to have someone in your corner to lend a hand when things get difficult.
- Focus on a healthy lifestyle. The better you are to your body, the better it can deal with spinal degeneration. Avoiding tobacco, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption and staying active can be helpful in general and even more so if you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis.
Many people with spinal stenosis are able to manage their condition without surgery. But those with more severely symptomatic spinal narrowing may wish to consider the minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and have a shorter recovery time and a comparatively lower complication rate,^ making them an excellent option for many individuals with spinal stenosis. To find out if you’re a potential candidate for our procedures, contact us today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.*