The most important aspect of treating spinal stenosis correctly is getting an accurate diagnosis. Some of the more common symptoms of this condition can also occur in other related conditions. Treating spinal stenosis, however, requires a different set of tools than treatment for most types of back pain. Your pain doctor will generally want to review your medical history, as well as perform an in-depth physical exam in order to diagnose this condition.
Physical examination includes inspection of the spine and lower extremities. The physician will assess for degree of mobility, joint stiffness, and reported pain or other sensations. Additional imaging techniques may be utilized in order to get a more accurate assessment of the severity of the condition. These techniques include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, computerized axial tomography (CAT), myelogram, ultrasounds, or bone scans.
Once the physician has determined that spinal stenosis is the cause for your symptoms, they will review appropriate treatment techniques. In some cases, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), have proven effective for reducing the pain associated with spinal stenosis. However, some instances of the condition are characterized by more severe degrees of pain that are not responsive to these types of medication. Opioid medications may then be recommended, as they are more effective for providing relief from severe cases of refractory pain. However, other treatment options are available to patients, as opioids come with a host of side effects and risks.
Spinal Stenosis | PainDoctor.com
Alternative treatments for spinal stenosis
Individuals may also wish to consider alternative treatment methods. These methods do not require the use of medications and can (and should!) be used in conjunction with other treatments to provide added benefit. These techniques include:
Spinal stenosis exercises
In some instances, alternative methods may be preferred, as they are safe and do not require the use of drugs. At-home spinal stenosis exercises you can do if you suffer from mild cases of spinal stenosis include core strengthening exercises, short and frequent bouts of walking, or simple stretches. Find all of our exercise suggestions here.
Interventional treatments for spinal stenosis
Other options are available for treating refractory instances of spinal stenosis pain. In the majority of cases, patients should consider using alternative therapies in conjunction with more interventional treatment options. For example, epidural steroid injections can help a patient reduce pain so they can more fully participate in physical therapy. Likewise, dietary and fitness changes can improve overall well-being and reduce stress and tension in the body.
Interventional methods target the transfer of pain signals between the peripheral nerves and the spinal cord and brain. Some examples that have received support in reducing pain include:
Epidural steroid injections
Spinal cord stimulation
Working with a pain doctor can help you decide which of these options could work for you.
Surgery for spinal stenosis
While many of these treatment techniques are effective for spinal stenosis pain, a small portion of cases may not be responsive to intervention. These patients suffer from severe and unremitting pain that interferes with daily functioning. In these cases, surgery may be the only option. If you believe you may need surgery for your pain, make sure that you have tried other options first, as surgery is an invasive process with its own risks.
This pain condition develops as the result of spinal canal narrowing. When the connective tissue of the spinal column becomes compromised, the spinal cord and spinal nerves are at risk for injury or damage. Thus, the pain and discomfort experienced as a result of spinal stenosis may be related to compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. In many instances, symptoms of spinal stenosis can begin to interfere with an individual’s daily functioning.
If you suffer from spinal stenosis, there are a range of treatment options available, from at-home remedies to surgical options. Treatment options available include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioid medications, epidural steroid injections, chiropractic care, acupuncture, or other relaxation practices. In cases of unremitting pain, despite previous treatment attempts, surgery may be the only option for relieving symptoms related to spinal stenosis.
Global Neuro & Spine Institute physicians are double and triple-board certified, fellowship trained, and remain on the cutting edge of technology. In our practice, we use the most advanced techniques and the highest standards to develop an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan for each of our patients. We are also very proud of our policy to place great importance on educating those we treat, while addressing any questions or concerns that may exist.
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