Spinal stenosis is when the backbone becomes narrow and pressure increases on the spinal cord or nerve endings. It is responsible for a number of different complaints about numbness, tingling, or leg pain. For severe cases of this condition, doctors often recommend spinal stenosis surgery and refer patients to a certified orthopedic spine surgeon.
It’s no secret that back surgery makes many patients nervous and question whether spinal surgery is necessary for healing. While a certified spinal surgeon can competently help relieve pain through surgery, most doctors understand that patients like to try non-surgical options before agreeing to surgery. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may find that non-surgical methods relieve your pain.
Medication and Injection Options
Before recommending spinal stenosis surgery, a doctor may want to see how over-the-counter medications help with inflammation. A doctor may want to try acetaminophen, but stronger nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often the most popular choice. Your doctor may recommend that you try aspirin, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Once you begin medication, your doctor will monitor how many you regularly take in order to manage the pain.
Another option is a steroid injection that’s administered into the membranes surrounding the spinal cord. These injections help to temporarily relieve pain and reduce inflammation. This treatment may help you if you’re experiencing pain that shoots through your leg or affects your hip. A nerve block injection is another option for relieving pain caused by nerves being damaged due to the stenosis. Because these injections provide temporary relief, they do need to be repeated and will not provide a cure. If you’re looking for a more permanent pain relief method, then you may need to consider spinal stenosis surgery.
Before agreeing to spinal stenosis surgery, you may want to try alternative therapies. Two popular therapies are chiropractic and acupuncture. Studies show that these two therapies hold a similar success rate to relieving pain as other non-surgical options. If used in conjunction with physical therapy, you may be able to receive non-surgical treatment for your stenosis for many years. If the time comes and you do need surgery to correct the damage and relieve pain, your spinal surgeon can walk you through the procedure and explain exactly how the surgery will provide healing and pain relief.