Back Pain Home > Spinal Stenosis Treatment

There are both surgical and nonsurgical options to treat spinal stenosis. Common nonsurgical options include analgesics, injections, and physical therapy. If there is no severe or progressive nerve involvement, a doctor may prescribe one of these methods. However, if nonsurgical treatment does not work to relieve pain, surgery may be recommended instead, especially if there is numbness that interferes with walking.

An Overview of Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Internists, general practitioners, rheumatologists (those who treat arthritis), and neurologists (those who treat nerve diseases) can give nonsurgical treatment for spinal stenosis. Orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons can also provide nonsurgical methods, and they may also perform surgery if it is required. Allied health professionals, such as physical therapists, may also help to treat the condition.
 

Treating Spinal Stenosis Through Nonsurgical Methods

In the absence of severe or progressive nerve involvement, a doctor may prescribe one or more of the following spinal stenosis treatments:
 
 
 
  • Corticosteroid injections into the outermost of the membranes covering the spinal cord and nerve roots to reduce inflammation and treat acute pain that radiates to the hips or down a leg.
 
  • Anesthetic injections, known as nerve blocks, near the affected nerve to temporarily relieve pain.
 
  • Restricted activity (varies depending on extent of nerve involvement).
 
  • Prescribed exercises and/or physical therapy to maintain motion of the spine, strengthen abdominal and back muscles, and build endurance -- all of which help stabilize the spine. Some patients may be encouraged to try slowly progressive aerobic activity, such as swimming or using exercise bicycles.
 
  • A lumbar brace or corset to provide some support and help regain mobility. This approach is sometimes used for patients with weak abdominal muscles or older patients with degeneration at several levels of the spine.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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