Managing spinal stenosis and back pain caused by spinal narrowing
Many people have to live with spinal stenosis and back pain or leg pain, with lumbar (lower) spinal stenosis being the source of this pain in a large number of cases. Back pain related to spinal stenosis, or spinal narrowing, can begin to affect every part of your life, from work to getting a good night’s sleep.
The good news is that there are many treatment options available that can return you to a good quality of life. By learning more about the causes and ways to manage back pain caused by spinal narrowing, you can give yourself a better chance of developing a successful treatment plan with your doctor.
How does spinal stenosis cause back pain?
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spine’s nerve passages, usually because of age-related degeneration of spinal anatomy. As this happens, the spinal nerves can become compressed. When these sensitive areas are pressed upon in the lumbar spine, they can trigger painful sensations in the back and lower body.
In many cases, spinal stenosis-related back pain is limited to the lower portion of the back. However, the pain can extend higher up the back, or it can radiate down through the hips and legs.
Not all patients with spinal stenosis will experience back pain. However, those who do experience discomfort often find that it can worsen over time. Because of this, it is important for patients to develop an effective pain management plan with the guidance of their doctor.
How can patients manage spinal stenosis-related back pain?
Patients have several options for managing spinal stenosis-related back pain. Initial treatments are usually conservative in nature. For example:
- Physical therapy can help patients strengthen their back and abdominal muscles. It is important to work with a licensed, professional physical therapist who can show you how to safely perform exercises.
- Medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, can help keep pain to a minimum. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications can both play a role in back pain management. Work with your doctor to find the right type of medication and dosage level for your needs.
- Back braces can help support the spine. While this is a short-term solution, it can provide relief, especially for people performing physical activity or labor.
Surgery can become an option if weeks or months of these and other treatments do not provide you with needed relief. For those concerned about the risk of complication and the highly invasive nature of traditional open back procedures, Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative.^
To learn more about minimally invasive, outpatient surgeries that address spinal stenosis and back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team can review your MRI at no cost* and let you know if you are a potential candidate for our procedures.