If you are suffering from spinal stenosis your doctor may suggest you a combination of non surgical treatment options. They might suggest you to go for physical therapy and at the same time take pain medication. Your physician might request you to change or modify your daily activities. However if the pain is making it difficult for you to move around you might be given epidural injections to help manage it. Usually when the pain is severe or continues to get worse the last option is surgery and the doctor might resort to it if it is seriously impacting your quality of life.
Physical therapy as a spinal stenosis treatment
If you go to a physical therapist, they would suggest a suitable program comprising of a number of exercises which would prove to be an effective spinal stenosis treatment. Although these exercises are not a cure but it is important that the person should remain active as tolerated. Carrying out these different activities might enable better mobility. Usually your physician may prescribe a supervised physical therapy program. After a period of joining the program most people are able to transition to exercising in their homes only. It is important to start slowly and build strength so that that pain from the stenosis can be managed effectively.
If there are certain activities which increase spinal stenosis it is better to reduce them all together. For example in case of lumbar stenosis patients are more comfortable while they are flexing forward. A suitable recommendation for modification would include walking while leaning on a Walker instead of walking upright. Stationary biking instead of walking for exercise, sitting in a recliner instead of a straight back chair.
Many people find relief by wearing a neck brace. This can help the neck from having any sudden movement which might result in pain. Although when you are wearing a brace it is only recommend to do so for a short period of time because it might lead to the deconditioning of muscles.
Medication for spinal stenosis
Doctors usually prescribed OTC medications to help alleviate the pain from spinal stenosis. Tylenol works through the central nervous system to help relieve the pain on the other hand nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the inflammation. These would include as aspirin and naproxen. These are available OTC as well.
However if these medications do not provide relief from pain, opioid medications might be suggested. These are however only helpful in cases of severe episode of nerve related pain. Doctors may also prescribe muscle relaxers. However there are definitely side effects of medication and it is better to have a detail talk with your doctor regarding the correct dosage and usage.
Some patients even have to take epidural steroid injections with the help of an x-ray guidance known as fluoroscopy. A contrast dye is injected into the body and the needle is placed in the spinal Canal so that the steroid can be injected into the epidural space. However it should be kept in mind that this is only a temporary treatment and there are certain risks associated with epidural injections. It should be kept in mind that spinal stenosis responds well to non-surgical treatment. However if the disability is increasing or pain is unmanageable then surgery might be considered as well.