Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Will Relieve Pain

When you are considering spinal stenosis treatment it is important to consider all of the treatment options. Understanding the treatment options for spinal stenosis makes you better able to participate in the decisions regarding your care.

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"symptoms occur because of pressure on the nerves"

Lumbar spinal stenosis develops when a lifetime of bending and lifting causes changes that put pressure on the nerves in the lumbar spine. Cervical and thoracic stenosis does occur, but lumbar stenosis is by far the most common and most spinal stenosis treatment is focused on the lumbar spine.

Spinal stenosis pain such as sciatica and other spinal stenosis symptoms occur because of pressure on the nerves. Spinal stenosis treatment involves different methods of relieving the pressure on the nerves.

"caused by a combination of two different things"

Pressure on the nerves is generally caused by a combination of two different things. Bone spurs and bony overgrowth on arthritic facet joints of the spine may grow into the space for the nerves.

Ligaments inside the spinal canal become thick and overgrown, from a lifetime of bending and lifting, narrowing the space for the nerves.

"when pain and other symptoms begin"

The arthritic facet joints and hypertrophic ligaments develop over years, and for years do not cause a problem, except for occasional back pain. But as they continued to enlarge, the space for the nerves grows tighter and tighter, and eventually a critical point is reached when pain and other symptoms may begin.

Relieving the pressure on the nerves, even just a little bit, is often enough to reduce or completely relieve symptoms.

"bending and lifting aggravates the little joints"

The most conservative spinal stenosis treatment begins with activity modification and good back mechanics. When you have arthritis in your back, bending and lifting aggravates the little joints, causing them to become painful and swollen.

It is the swelling of these joints in your back that may put pressure on the nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. Avoiding bending and lifting or being very careful about how you do it may be enough spinal stenosis treatment to eliminate your symptoms.

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"learn good back mechanics"

Physical therapy can be useful to learn good back mechanics and exercises to strengthen your back. Acupuncture for sciatica and acupuncture for back painalong with other back pain treatments such as inversion therapyherbal medicines, and back pain machines are useful for some people.

Another useful spinal stenosis treatment is arthritis medications such as anti-inflammatories, which may reduce the swelling in your back enough to make a difference in your spinal stenosis pain.

"when the stenosis is all in one area"

Another good way to relieve the swelling that is causing pressure on the nerves is epidural steroid injections. These can be effective when the stenosis is all in one area. When there are multiple levels with spinal stenosis, steroids are less effective, because there are limits to how much can be injected.

How much relief you get from steroid injections, anti-inflammatories and other treatments to reduce the swelling depends on exactly what is causing your symptoms. If it is inflammation and swelling within the spinal canal, causing pressure on the nerves, these treatments can be very effective. But, if the pressure on the nerves is caused by bony structures steroids will not have a significant effect.

"minimally invasive surgery can sometimes be effective for certain problems"

If you have tried all of the more conservative treatments without relief you may need to consider more invasive treatments such as spinal stenosis surgery.

Modern methods of minimally invasive surgery can sometimes be effective for certain problems, but in most cases spinal stenosis surgery requires an open approach. Even though, this may require a larger surgery and recovery, it may be safer because the surgeon has direct visualization of the important structures.

"the goal of spinal stenosis surgery is to relieve pain and restore function"

The goal of spinal stenosis surgery is to relieve pain and restore function by removing the bone and ligaments that are pressing on the nerves. If surgery is performed before the symptoms are severe the outcome is often very good and you can return to normal activities.

When treatment is postponed the pressure on the nerves gradually continues to increase. The longer the nerves are squeezed, and the tighter they are squeezed, reduces the chance that they will recover completely.

"there are many side effects"

Narcotic pain medication is another option, but there are many side effects such as constipation and confusion. You can develop a tolerance and begin requiring more medication for the same relief. You also risk developing dependence or addiction. Narcotic pain medication is not a good choice for spinal stenosis symptoms if there are other options.

If you're having back pain and begin developing symptoms of cauda equina syndrome such as lower extremity weakness or problems controlling your bowels and bladder you must see your doctor immediately. Cauda equina syndrome is a serious problem that can cause permanent injury and impairment if not treated quickly.

"if the pain does not prevent normal activities"

If you begin developing spinal stenosis pain such as sciatica, and if the pain does not prevent normal activities, you're probably safe treating this on your own. You could start by avoiding bending and lifting and taking it over the counter pain medication.

"symptoms develop slowly, over years,
but they do not go away"

If the pain is more severe, or if it prevents normal activities, you need to see your doctor. He can examine you an order the appropriate studies, such as an MRI or a CT scan to evaluate your symptoms, then he can start you on an appropriate treatment plan.

Spinal stenosis symptoms develop slowly, over years, but they do not go away. If you are having symptoms, avoiding spinal stenosis treatment will only complicate your problems. Find out what is causing your symptoms and start treating them today.



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