Nonsurgical treatment for spinal stenosis: four options
Spinal stenosis describes narrowing of the nerve passages in the spinal column and can be caused by a number of factors, including spine conditions like osteoarthritis and herniated discs. Symptoms from spinal stenosis can be very disruptive to your life, affecting everything from working in the yard to getting a good night’s sleep.
When receiving a diagnosis, it is easy to wonder if a surgical procedure will be necessary to provide relief from these symptoms. However, spinal stenosis surgery can often be avoided by following your doctor’s recommendation for conservative treatment options.
Four treatments to pursue before considering spinal stenosis surgery
There are many nonsurgical treatments for spinal stenosis, but here are four common options to be aware of:
- Hot and cold therapy. This simple yet effective treatment can be performed at home, or at a clinic with dedicated equipment. Use of a heat source, such as a heating pad, can stimulate blood flow to the area to help with healing, while cold compression can relieve swelling and act as a temporary numbing agent.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy involves movements and treatments to strengthen and stretch the spine. This can help open up the spinal nerve pathways and potentially relieve nerve compression.
- Medication and spinal injections. Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help with painful episodes, but should only be used as directed and on an as-needed basis. Spinal injections, such as an epidural steroid injection, can relieve pain and inflammation long enough to help a patient complete physical therapy or to see if the underlying condition can heal.
- Lifestyle changes to promote spine health. Losing weight, quitting smoking, eating a more nutritious diet, using proper body mechanics and reducing alcohol consumption are all steps that can positively affect the spine and potentially offer relief from spinal stenosis.
As you attempt these and other treatments, keep a positive attitude and expect some amount of trial and error. In a very high number of cases, people with spinal stenosis are able to enjoy normal activities without ever having to undergo spinal stenosis surgery.
Exploring your options for spinal stenosis surgery
If you and your doctor have decided that conservative treatments have been thoroughly exhausted, contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about our minimally invasive spinal stenosis surgery. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and offer a shorter recovery time with less risk of complications like infection compared to traditional open back surgery.^
Ask for your no-cost MRI review* if you’d like to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.