Spinal Stenosis Treatment Options

What is spinal stenosis? Generally, it is defined that spinal cancal narrows and the spine is corded by pressure. The situation may take place anywhere in the back but the commonest type happens in the lumbar and cervical spine. In the diagnosed cases, about 75% of the patients was attacked in the lumbar spine and 25% of patients suffered from both lumbar and servical stenosis.

Before surgery, most patients will be cured more than 3 months through the following treatments:

Physical therapy
Under the help of a physical therapist, an individual can not only be helped to build strength and endurance, but what is more important is to maintain the flexibility and stability of the spine.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammation drugs
Some medications are OTC, and others are prescription drugs. And the most common ones are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and indomethacin (Indocin), which can help remove inflammation and pain. But the pain they can control is limited. What’s more, there are still some side effects, such as, bleeding ulcers.

Analgesics
These medications, such as acetaminophen,(Tylenol) can kill pain even though they can’t remove inflammation. However, overusing them can cause kidney and liver failure. What is worse, drink alcohol will deteriorate side effects.

Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine.

These medications are nonprescription supplements. Patients often choose one of them, but sometimes they can use both for treating osteoarthritis. However, researchers cannot make sure which one works better in preventing or treating osteoarthritis of spine better. Remember this: they may interfere with other medications already prescribed, so it’s better to consult a physician before taking them.

Rest or restricted activity.
You’d better take a rest after a slow return to activity, because it can alleviate your symptoms. So the doctors often advise patients to walk or cycle depend on their own situation.

Back brace.
The patients can use a back brace or corset to support their back. By doing this can not only help strengthen abdominal muscles but also prevent multiple areas of the spine from degenerating.

Steroid injections.
Corticosterjeoids injected as an epidural reach the spinal cord and nerve roots. The number of injections is usually limited to a patient because they have serious side effect, though they remove inflammation and pain.

If the above treatments can’t give a satisfactory result, one of the following types of surgery should be taken into consideration.

Decompression laminectomy.
The surgeon removes all bones of the back over the spine cancal, named as lamina. This can make more space for nerves and it’s relatively easier for a doctor to gain access to move bones spurs and ruptured disks. Some patients only need to cut a single incision in back when operated. While others, the surgeon might use laparoscopy using a camera and surgical instruments to insert through several small incisions. Risks still exist during laminectomy, such as infection, a tear in the membrane covering the spinal cord, bleeding and a blood clot in a vein in the leg. Others involve neurological exacerbation and degenerated intestinal function, which is known as paralytic ileus.

Laminectomy.
In order to alleviate pressure and easily approach a disk or bone spur, only a portion of the lamina is removed. At the same time, there are also some risks accompanied by it.

Fusion.
Doctors sometimes perform the operation along with a laminectomy, but in most conditions, it is done alone. During the surgery , two or more vertebral bones are fused by surgeon. And it needs a long procedure to do it if one vertebral slips over another one. Usually, the doctors fill space between two vertebrae with bones from patient’s body or a bone bank. They may also apply wire, rods, screws, cages or plates as well.

Maybe the operation can make patients comfortable, but it can’t prevent degeneration of the bone. The symptoms always recur for many patients after only a few years.

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