Spinal stenosis information that every patient needs to know
If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, the amount of information you’re trying to process is probably overwhelming. While your physician or spine specialist should always be your main source of information, these are some basic facts that can hopefully help you make a little more sense of your diagnosis.
Spinal stenosis defined
Spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, doesn’t just develop overnight. It is a degenerative condition that can either be inherited or acquired, but in either case, the narrowing usually happens slowly over time.
With inherited spinal stenosis, people are already born with a small spinal canal and as they get older, the narrowing increases further and causes painful symptoms. With acquired spinal stenosis, the canal starts off at a normal size and gradually becomes smaller as a result of natural wear from aging.
In both situations, the condition can go unnoticed for a long time since spinal stenosis usually causes no symptoms. It is only when the narrowing begins to compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that pain may occur. These symptoms, including back pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms or legs, can be extremely disruptive. If you are experiencing spinal stenosis symptoms, the following article can help get you back to the activities you love.
Alternative spinal stenosis treatments to open back surgery
While patients with spinal stenosis may need several nonsurgical therapies to keep their symptoms at a manageable level, surgery isn’t usually necessary. Your physician will generally first prescribe a course of conservative treatments that fit your specific condition. Common options include traction or inversion tables, chiropractic care, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), epidural steroid injections, stretches and alternative therapies, like acupuncture. The majority of patients find lasting and meaningful relief from their stenosis symptoms with these treatments and are able to return to an acceptable level of comfort.
If you’re considering surgery because weeks and months of conservative treatment have not brought you pain relief, surgical intervention may be an option. Spinal stenosis can be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery, like the muscle-sparing procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. By removing the tissue narrowing the canal through a procedure called a laminotomy, our dedicated team is able to relieve the symptoms caused by spinal stenosis. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and are associated with shorter recovery times.^ As you learn more about your diagnosis, contact Laser Spine Institute if you have any questions about surgery for spinal stenosis.
For additional information about our minimally invasive procedures and to see if you are a candidate, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and ask for your no-cost MRI review.*