Canal stenosis treatment may become necessary if the space within the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and a series of sensitive nerve roots, is narrowed by the presence of excess tissue, such as an inflamed ligament, swollen facet joint, herniated disc or bone spur. Usually, the key factor that produces symptoms — and necessitates treatment — is nerve compression. In other words, if spinal narrowing creates pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root, the irritated nerve may produce varying levels of neck or back pain, numbness, weakness or tingling sensations that travel through an arm or leg. If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal narrowing and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be a candidate for canal stenosis treatment.
Treatment does not always involve surgery
You needn’t shy away from canal stenosis treatment simply because you want to avoid surgery. The fact is, many people are able to find sufficient relief from their mild-to-moderate symptoms with conservative therapies. While your physician can recommend the best approach for you after evaluating your specific diagnosis, symptoms, lifestyle and other factors, you might find that you benefit significantly from:
- Regular physical activity. A program that incorporates low-impact aerobic exercises, such as walking and swimming, can enhance circulation throughout the body, strengthen the core muscles that support the spine and enhance overall health and well-being.
- Over-the-counter medications. The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed can effectively reduce painful inflammation and relieve canal stenosis symptoms.
- Spinal injections. To address severe pain, a physician can inject a mixture of local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication directly into the epidural space of the spine, which can potentially provide lasting relief.
Surgical canal stenosis treatment can address worsening symptoms
While nonsurgical treatments can be very effective, it’s important to understand that these options can only treat the symptoms of canal stenosis, and not its underlying cause. In certain circumstances, surgical intervention may be necessary to address the precise source of the spinal narrowing. As a general rule of thumb, you may be a candidate for surgical canal stenosis treatment if you’ve used conservative treatment methods for several weeks or months without success.
The surgeons at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures to address canal stenosis and other degenerative spine conditions. Our minimally invasive procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^ To find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.