Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Patients diagnosed with symptomatic spinal stenosis have three main options for treatment: surgery, conservative therapy, or alternative remedies. The treatment of lumbar or cervical spinal stenosis will usually involve exhausting all conservative treatment approaches first, using a combination of rest, support devices, physical therapy, and pain medications. This spinal stenosis treatment is normally given over the initial months after diagnosis in hope that it will correct the problem without requiring more drastic measures. When the pain/discomfort continues, a spinal stenosis surgery procedure is discussed and pursued if the patient and their physician agree it will improve the patient’s quality of life. During this time, patients often choose to use adjunct therapies such as acupuncture, pilates, yoga, and the Alexander Technique to help relieve symptoms and, perhaps, reduce reliance on medications. Many patients also find that herbal and nutritional remedies are beneficial in lowering inflammation, pain, and the side-effects of certain medications they have been prescribed.
Alternative Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Patients facing surgery for spinal stenosis are no longer limited to the use of open back surgery techniques, with new options including alternative spine procedures, such as Laser Spine Surgery and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. These are becoming more and more popular because they usually have a lower risk-rate for infection and complication, and require less time for recovery than traditional surgery which may require months of bed rest. Patients who choose minimally invasive options are often able to leave the hospital the same day or a few days post surgery and may be able to resume normal activities within weeks of surgery rather than having to wait months. This can help reduce the associated costs of back surgery such as time away from work, paying for childcare, animal care, and self-care, as well as medical bills including pain medications.
Implants for Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Another option for spinal stenosis treatment is a spinal implant. Spine implant devices are designed to be inserted into the spine and then correct the compression issues. Ideally, no parts of the spine or bodily tissues would be removed in the process of insertion, but the different prospective devices are implanted and operate in different manners. Implants include the X-Stop, Wallis spinal implant, the DIAM, and others.
Choosing a treatment path
The type of spinal stenosis treatment chosen depends on several factors and patients should research all their options before deciding which treatment path to take for their situation. Whether a patient is considering conservative treatment for spinal stenosis, back surgery with or without a spinal implant, or alternative spinal stenosis treatments such as acupuncture, by using diagnostic tools such as MRIs and XRAYs in conjunction with physical exams, a doctor can help a patient decide which treatment is best for them. When considering surgery, it is a good idea to always be well informed of all spinal stenosis treatment options. Many patients also get second opinions or choose to speak to an orthopaedic or neurosurgeon prior to making their final decision.