The goal of spinal canal stenosis treatment is to relieve pain and other uncomfortable symptoms as conservatively as possible. A regimen of nonsurgical treatments is usually enough to keep any discomfort at bay. While the process of finding the right combination of treatments can take some time, many patients are ultimately able to resume full participation in the activities they enjoy without giving any further thought to surgery.
Usually, a conservative canal stenosis treatment plan includes some form of physical therapy, which can provide numerous general health and spine-related benefits. To take full advantage of the potential of this treatment, it’s best to consult with an experienced and qualified physical therapist before getting started. After learning about your unique circumstances, a physical therapist can recommend a customized program to help you achieve your specific goals.
How physical therapy can help with canal stenosis treatment
A physical therapy program for canal stenosis treatment may consist of several types of exercises and complementary therapies, each of which provides a specific benefit. Some examples include:
- Stretches to enhance spinal flexibility and range of motion
- Strength training that targets core muscles, which can help shift painful pressure away from the spine
- Aerobic exercises to promote cardiovascular health and allow for participation in more demanding physical activities
- Postural improvement recommendations for standing, sitting and walking, which can relieve pressure on a compressed nerve root
- Massage therapy to relax taut muscles
- Specialized pain treatments, such as ultrasound therapy and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, to alleviate severe or persistent discomfort
Sometimes pain can make the idea of exercise seem unappealing, but it’s important not to fall into that trap, which can turn into a vicious cycle. It’s best to start an exercise program slowly as pain permits, but the key to success is simply starting. Several studies show that the more low-impact exercise that a patient can handle (when overseen by a physical therapist), the faster he or she may find relief.
If physical therapy is not enough
After committing to a physical therapy program or other nonsurgical canal stenosis treatment plans for several weeks or months, you may understandably become discouraged if your symptoms continue or worsen. This is the point where most physicians advise their patients to begin to think about surgery. Before consenting to a traditional open spine procedure, however, you should consider all of your options, which may include the safer and effective alternatives performed by the surgeons at USA Spine Care.^
To learn more and find out if you’re a candidate, contact USA Spine Care to request a consultation with our team.