Spinal stenosis treatment options can be categorized as either nonsurgical (conservative) or surgical. In most cases, conservative treatment methods are sufficient for managing the pain and other symptoms caused by nerve root or spinal cord compression related to spinal stenosis. Nonsurgical treatment methods might include non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, prescription narcotics, stretching for improved flexibility and reduced pressure in the spinal column, core strengthening exercises, hot/cold therapy, corticosteroid injections, and more. The goal of these treatments is symptom management, not a cure. If symptoms remain chronic and debilitating after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery might become a valid option.
Before Consenting to Surgery for Spinal Stenosis
Not everyone who is diagnosed with spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the openings within the spine – will experience symptoms more serious than stiffness, inflammation, or mild aching. However, narrowing within the spinal canal or the openings that house the spinal nerve roots can lead to compression of nerve roots or the spinal cord. Nerve root or cord compression can produce radiating pain, tingling, numbness, and/or muscle weakness in the extremities. If these symptoms last for more than a few days, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor about the various conservative spinal stenosis treatment options available. Often, a patient will need to try several nonsurgical treatment methods over time before symptoms subside.
If Surgery Becomes Inevitable
In a small percentage of spinal stenosis cases, elective surgery will be recommended by a doctor because nonsurgical treatment options have been unsuccessful. Before consenting to surgery, patients should be absolutely certain that all viable conservative methods have been attempted. Once surgery has been recommended, patients should consider seeking a second opinion to confirm a diagnosis and to make sure no other conservative treatment methods are available.
The type of surgery used to alleviate the symptoms of spinal stenosis will depend on several factors, including the underlying cause of the spinal narrowing and the location within the spine of the symptomatic nerve compression. A patient who wishes to avoid the long, arduous recuperation and higher risk of infection associated with open back or neck surgery should explore the minimally invasive spinal stenosis treatment options offered by Laser Spine Institute. To learn how Laser Spine Institute’s experienced orthopedic surgeons make use of advanced, endoscopic techniques to perform revolutionary spine procedures, contact us today.