Talking About Sports Injuries and Orthopedic Care Practices

Some Treatments Your Doctor Might Recommend For Spinal Stenosis

If you have mild symptoms of spinal stenosis, you may be able to control them with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medications. However, it's possible your condition will gradually get worse over time and you'll need other spinal treatments to get relief from the discomfort caused by your condition. These are some of the treatments your doctor may recommend if medications and home treatments are not able to manage your pain.

Spinal Injections

An injection of corticosteroid medication into your spine might help with pain relief by reducing inflammation of the nerve in your spine. One reason you have pain from spinal stenosis is because the opening in your spine narrows and this causes the nerve to be pinched. This causes irritation and inflammation. Spinal injections don't cure spinal stenosis, so you have to take the injections a few times a year for ongoing relief. The injections could have some undesired side effects, so your doctor may reserve them for when your pain is severe.

Stretching And Strengthening Exercises

Before your doctor suggests surgery, he or she will likely have you try other approaches to dealing with your back or neck pain. You might try physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support your spine. Learning the proper stretching exercises could help open your spinal column and release pressure on your nerve. While these treatments may not cure your stenosis, they may help manage your pain and allow you to avoid or postpone surgery. If you try this approach, your doctor will probably refer you to a physical therapist so you can learn how to do the exercises correctly to get the best results and to avoid further injury to your back.

Spinal Surgery

Your doctor might recommend surgery to decompress the nerve in your spine for longer-lasting relief from pain. This involves removing a small portion of the vertebrae in the affected area of your spine so pressure on the nerve is released. It might be necessary to perform a spinal fusion along with the decompression surgery. This surgery fuses the vertebrae together so they can still provide support for your spine with part of the vertebrae removed.

Some types of decompression surgeries are minimally invasive. This means they are done through a smaller incision so there is less risk of side effects and a reduced need for spinal fusion surgery. Avoiding a spinal fusion could reduce the risk of complications and back pain after decompression surgery, but your doctor will determine which type of surgery is best for you based on your medical history and the severity of your condition. Your doctor will locate the exact area of spinal narrowing and determine its cause by looking at images from an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI. This helps your doctor choose the best treatment for you.