Spinal Stenosis Symptoms and Treatment

Millions of people across the US suffer from spinal stenosis symptoms and treatment usually follows a course of conservative pain management until the point where treatments become ineffective and more invasive intervention is required. Physical therapy is a useful aid to spinal stenosis patients and many find that working on posture, core strength, and removing stresses and strains on the spine (by assessing ergonomics at work and home, for example) can be particularly helpful in managing spinal stenosis symptoms.

Symptoms such as paraesthesia may be alleviated by avoiding troublesome movements, sometimes through use of a lumbar support device. Such back supports may not always be recommended however as there is a concern that, over time, the muscles in the back will become lazy and atrophy which can cause other problems with the spine. Some yoga classes, acupuncture, acupressure, massage, or chiropractic treatment may also be of benefit to patients with spinal stenosis symptoms as long as the practitioner is experienced with the condition and knows which movements or practices to avoid.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Prognosis

Where patients’ spinal stenosis symptoms become progressively worse and are no longer able to be addressed conservatively, a physician may suggest that the patient has an X-Stop implant (for lumbar spinal stenosis), or other type of back surgery such as intervertebral disc replacement, laminotomy, or even laminectomy with spinal fusion. Back surgery is usually delayed until the condition presents considerable difficulties to a patient’s daily routine and where the potential benefits of spinal stenosis surgery outweigh the possible risks. Severe spinal stenosis symptoms may be a result of spinal cord compression, such as in cauda equina syndrome, where bladder and bowel function may be compromised, and patients may experience difficulties walking. Such symptoms require immediate attention as the spinal cord compression (myelopathy) may cause permanent damage.




In most cases patients experience spinal stenosis symptoms as a gradual worsening of pain, numbness, and paraesthesia, with some acute episodes and some remissions, often depending on activity levels and other factors such as infection and systemic inflammation. Many people over the age of fifty suffer from some degree of spinal canal narrowing for the simple reason of wear and tear, not all of these people suffer from spinal stenosis symptoms however, which can make the use of diagnostic imaging techniques problematic on occasion. Taking care to discover the true cause of spinal stenosis symptoms is key to treating the condition optimally and patients often find effective ways of managing the condition without resorting to spinal stenosis surgery.

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