While canal stenosis surgery can be the best option for some patients, it’s important to understand that many with this condition find relief without ever requiring a procedure. In fact, surgery is typically considered the treatment of last resort when other methods have not been able to improve symptoms. In a large number of cases, canal stenosis responds well to a custom-tailored treatment plan incorporating a variety of conservative therapies.
The goal of canal stenosis treatment
Canal stenosis is narrowing of the central spinal canal, usually due to age-related causes like spinal arthritis or degenerative disc disease. While these conditions are not reversible, nonsurgical treatment to relieve pain, improve mobility and promote the overall health of the spine can be very effective in helping patients enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle.
- Trying conservative methods. There are many conservative treatments available that can potentially help you manage the symptoms of your canal stenosis and avoid surgery in the long term. The goal is to find the combination that works best for you. This can take some time and require a little trial and error, but the benefits can be significant. Common examples of conservative treatments include low-impact exercise, physical therapy, stretching, hot/cold compresses and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Incorporating complementary or alternative techniques into your treatment plan. Many patients have good results from attempting alternative practices into their treatment plan. This can include chiropractic adjustment, deep tissue massage, supplements, acupuncture and homeopathic remedies.
- Making lifestyle changes. Making changes in your life may help you manage your canal stenosis symptoms. If you are overweight, you may find that losing some excess pounds can take some of the strain off your neck and back, reducing the effects of the canal stenosis. Your doctor may also recommend you avoid certain activities like high-impact sports, reduce your consumption of alcohol or quit smoking as these activities can all have a negative effect on your spine health.
When surgery is considered
Canal stenosis surgery is usually performed to open up space in the spinal column, which helps to relieve nerve compression in the neck or back. While canal stenosis surgery isn’t necessary for everyone, in certain cases it represents the best chance that a patient has for overcoming pain if weeks or months of conservative treatments have not brought relief.
If you’ve been recommended for surgery but have concerns about the risk of complication and long recovery time associated with traditional open neck or back procedures, reach out to USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery uses muscle-sparing techniques, offering our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.^
Contact us today to learn more. We offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.