Can You Relieve Spinal Stenosis Pain Without Surgery?

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Can You Relieve Spinal Stenosis Pain Without Surgery?

When it comes to back pain, surgery is usually the last resort. That’s true even when your pain results from spinal stenosis. Consider these treatment options before planning on surgery.

Back pain happens for a wide range of reasons, many of them causing pressure on nerve tissue. That often happens because the spaces through which nerves pass have little extra room. Anytime a nerve channel is reduced in size, it’s a condition called spinal stenosis

Causes include bone spur growth and herniated discs. Some people simply inherit small nerve passageways from their parents. Surgery to enlarge these narrowed spaces is often a solution but usually never the first option.

Fortunately, nonsurgical techniques can help ease back pain without the risk and long-term recovery required by surgery. 

As spinal stenosis specialists, the team at Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management can help you when back pain flares. We offer multiple therapeutic, nonsurgical approaches, so there’s a good chance we have the solution for you. 

Understanding stenosis

Stenosis is a medical term that refers to narrowing. When we talk about spinal stenosis, we could be discussing one of many reasons nerve openings become smaller. Spinal stenosis is a symptom or side effect of these conditions, not a disease or disorder itself. 

Common causes of stenosis in the spine include: 

  • Herniated discs: Tissue escaping from ruptured discs can squeeze into nerve pathways
  • Degenerative disc disease: Spinal discs become dry, stiff, and less flexible
  • Arthritis: Loss of cartilage affects the alignment of many small facet joints in the spine
  • Bone spurs: Often a result of arthritis, bony tissue blocks nerve pathways
  • Osteoporosis: Weak bones can result in compression fractures as vertebrae collapse

Traumatic injuries such as collisions involving contact sports or auto accidents can also affect the alignment of nerve passages. In rare cases, tumors of the spine can also cause stenosis. 

Relieving spinal stenosis pain without surgery

Removing the bone or other tissue causing stenosis may seem like a simple and easy option, but the spine’s complex anatomy means there’s nothing simple or easy about spinal surgery. 

Across the medical spectrum, conservative treatments are the first choice. We move to more aggressive therapies only when the original treatment fails to produce results.

That holds true with spinal stenosis. Sometimes, rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are enough to provide relief. 

When you require more advanced treatment, techniques we may recommend include: 

  • Physical therapy to build support for spinal joints
  • Steroid injections for more aggressive anti-inflammatory action
  • Targeted nerve blocks, including facet joint, medial nerve, and transforaminal blocks
  • Regenerative techniques like stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
  • Ketamine injections
  • Spinal cord stimulator implants
  • Radiofrequency ablation 

The optimal plan for you may require a combination of treatments. For instance, it’s common practice to include physical therapy in any pain management strategy. The right solution depends on the reasons behind your spinal stenosis.

Contact the nearest office of Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management, in West Des Moines or East Des Moines, Iowa, to set up a personal consultation to explore your treatment options. Call or click to book an appointment today.