Lumber spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal tunnel. In most cases, it displays gradually and lurks throughout one’s life. When the spinal tunnel gets narrowed, it will not only compress and stimulate the nearby nerves which split out from the spinal cord but also the spinal cord itself. The treatments for lumbar spinal stenosis are aiming at relieving the pain, stiffness and feebleness in the leg. It allows our legs function more normally and improve quality of life at the same time. The treatment includes pain medications, normally stretch exercises or any non-operative options. In emergency cases, surgery is available.
In the traditional sense, except in serious conditions, it is advisable to relief pain without surgery. And it is proved that there is no need to perform a surgery in most cases. The traditionally treatment is more likely to approach the non-operative methods. The non-operative methods can contribute you to remove the slight or moderate symptoms of pain, numbness m and weakness in legs. Generally speaking, the non-operative treatments include:
● Well understanding of you physical condition and know how to deal with the common pains.
● Pain-relieving medicines such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs might be prescribed to decrease pain and increase your activity level and relieve inflammation
● Appropriate exercises prescribed by therapist can help relieve pressure from your nerves, reducing the symptoms of pain and weakness。For example, riding bicycle is an effective way to relieve symptoms because it allows you to lean forward
● Weight loss can contribute to slow the progression of the stenosis.
● Physical thereby can work with you to develop an appropriate exercise program, especially the strength exercises, may lead to the decrease in pain and other symptoms.
If you are suffering from cervical spinal stenosis, you’d better make an earlier plan to treat it.
Generally, lumbar spinal stenosis often requires non-operative treatment on an existing basis. These treatments are listed above. If the above treatments, such as medicines, physical thereby and weight loss, etc, are invalid. Your therapist may suggest you an epidural steroid injection (abbr. as ESI). These injections are very effective for the pain in the legs.
Treatment when your condition get worse
It is difficult to judge the severe level of the lumbar stenosis since it varies from time to time. However, if these symptoms happen to you, such as numbness, weakness, or hard to stand or even move a few steps, it shows that your condition is getting worse gradually. In some cases, your condition get worse when there are problems with bladder and bowel control.
When the acute low back pain is too serious enough to relieve through other forms of treatment and your daily activities are serious affected, the professional doctors may prescribe hydrocodone or other opioid medicines which have great effects on the acute low back pain. However, if symptoms happen in the legs, these medicines have not such obvious effects.
If your symptoms have no improved after trying non-operative treatments for a long term prescribed by you doctor, it is a good choice for you to perform a surgery. Some imaging tests (such as MRI) is necessary since they help to find out the exactly location of the spinal tunnel narrowing. Before making a decision on surgery, you and your doctor should discuss carefully combined with your symptoms and the imaging tests.
Back pain surgery should be within you consideration when you are coming up with one of following two cases.
Firstly, Having a feeling of pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs, which prevent you from normal daily activities or work and decrease the quality of your life.
Secondly, You don’t have any previous medical conditions that prevent your from recovery of surgery.
The surgery for spinal stenosis is aiming at relieving pain, numbness, weakness in the legs. Generally, patients with serious root symptoms and pain both in legs and back can benefit greatly from it. It may not have obvious effects on back pain. Therefore, people who suffer from back pain are not likely satisfied with the results of such surgery. More seriously, the surgery will bring them numbness, weakness, and pain in legs.
What should we consider? In emergency cases when the acute symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis occur in your legs, your doctor may advise you have an Epidural steroid injection (ESI). Generally speaking, the effect of this injection would only exist for a short-term, and even the professionals do not know its long-term effects. This injection has the potential danger to our body, so you and your doctor should consider cautiously whether there is a need for you to have numerous injections.
Under normal conditions, it is advisable for the older adult not to perform a surgery. For an older adult, he is able to relieve the symptoms through the non-operative treatment and these symptoms should not be serious enough to prevent him from normal daily activities or work. Surgery is available only when the symptoms are acute enough and it seriously decreases the quality of you life. Otherwise, having a surgery will bring greater risks than the symptom itself.
Other Treatment Options for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Physical therapy is a very effective non-operative treatment for spinal stenosis. Physical therapy has great function on reducing pain, promoting function and building muscles strength. Physical therapists can work with you to develop an appropriate exercise program to strengthen your stiffed muscles, which contribute to support the spine. There are also special exercises for maintain the flexibility and reduce inflammation. You might as well to try it.
In addition to the above treatments, there are some alternative and complementary medicine therapies, such as acupuncture, ultrasound, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, are used by some people to ease pain. However, these therapies have not been improved its function on controlling symptoms of spinal stenosis. Hence, you should as cautious as possible when choosing it.