Spinal stenosis — overview and treatment options

Spinal stenosis is a degenerative spine condition that describes the narrowing of the spinal canal and other nerve passages in the spinal column. A degenerative spine condition is any complication or disease in the spine that is caused by the natural aging process or wear and tear of the spine over the years. Most people over the age of 50 begin to develop some type of degenerative spine condition, though it can go unnoticed if there are no symptoms.

Spinal stenosis is often a result of another spine condition that is causing constriction in the spinal column. If you are experiencing chronic lower back pain and stiffness, you should consult your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. Milder cases of spinal stenosis often can be treated with conservative therapies, but surgery can become an option if symptoms become severe and are no longer responding to conservative treatments. Your doctor will diagnose the cause of your pain and help you determine the best treatment option for your needs.

Causes of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is commonly a result of another degenerative spine condition, such as spondylolisthesis, arthritis of the spine or a herniated disc.

The spine is made of segmented bones, called vertebrae, stacked on top of one another. In between each vertebra is a rubbery disc and two pairs of joints that link the vertebra and gives the spine mobility. Over the years, as these parts undergo natural loss of water content combined with the stresses of everyday movement they can begin to wear out. This is particularly true in the lumbar (lower) spine because it is responsible for supporting most of the body’s weight. As the spinal anatomy becomes worn out it can lead to displacement of disc material, inflamed joints and spinal bone spurs. All of these conditions are capable of narrowing the spinal column and causing painful nerve compression.

Treatment options of spinal stenosis

Upon diagnosis of spinal stenosis, most doctors will treat this condition with a course of conservative treatment options. Chiropractic care can help to lengthen the spine and decompress the vertebrae by stretching and moving the spine into proper alignment. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles around the spine to relieve some of the pressure on the vertebrae in the lumbar spine and to hold the spinal components in the proper position. Other options include therapeutic massage, epidural steroid injections, hot/cold compression and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.

However, if you have sought conservative treatments for your spinal stenosis and you have not found any lasting relief, you might consider surgical treatment to relieve your chronic back pain. If you are in this situation, reach out to Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive procedures.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to treat spinal stenosis. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery can treat many cases of spinal stenosis by removing a portion of the diseased disc or vertebra in the spine that is compressing a nerve and causing the spinal canal to narrow. More advanced and severe cases of spinal stenosis may benefit from our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. These procedures are an outpatient alternative to traditional fusion procedures. Our minimally invasive spine surgeries can be performed through a small incision and are safer and effective procedures compared to traditional open back surgery.^

We are pleased to offer a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.