Spinal stenosis treatment
The goal of spinal stenosis treatment should be to relieve neck or back pain associated with narrowing in the spinal column. Narrowing is usually caused by a variety of common age-related spine conditions and, in rarer cases, injury. This condition can become chronically painful and limit your daily activities; even a simple task like pushing a grocery cart can be a difficult experience.
Spinal stenosis can occur at any level of the spine, but it is most often found in the lower (lumbar) and upper (cervical) regions. This is because the neck and lower back support the weight of the head and the upper body, respectively. The amount of flexing and bending required for basic movement takes a toll over the years, causing the parts of the spinal column to break down as we all age.
It is possible for you to have stenosis for years and not know it. Painful symptoms usually happen as a result of nerve interference, which is the reason many first go to their physician for a diagnosis and treatment plan. The narrowing occurs in most cases from a related degenerative spine condition — like an arthritic bone spur, a herniated disc or a swollen ligament — which constricts the already tight space for nerves to travel. Spinal nerve compression can produce symptoms such as local and radiating pain, numbness and muscle weakness in the extremities.
The conservative approach
Upon diagnosis, the first step in spinal stenosis treatment is for your primary care doctor to work with you in developing an individualized care plan. The fact is that a lot of patients suffering from stenosis pain can return to normal activities without resorting to surgery. This is because a range of more conservative treatment is usually effective in bringing meaningful relief from symptoms. Some of the most commonly used methods can be:
- Over-the-counter and prescription pain medication
- Stretching and exercise to improve flexibility and muscle strength
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic massage
- Intermittent rest
- Hot/cold applications
- Corticosteroid injections
- Alternative treatments, like chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture
Minimally invasive spinal stenosis treatment
Should conservative spinal stenosis treatment prove ineffective over the course of several weeks or months, surgery might become an option. However, before consenting to undergo highly invasive, risky, open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons perform a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to help patients find relief from neck and back pain. Laser Spine Institute will provide a no-cost review* of a recent MRI to help determine whether you are a candidate for our procedures.