Treatment for spinal stenosis depends on the location of the stenosis and the severity of your signs and symptoms. If the symptoms are mild or you aren't experiencing any, doctor may monitor the condition with regular follow-up appointments. He or she may offer some self-care tips that can be done at home. If these don't help, he or she may recommend medications or physical therapy.
Your doctor may prescribe:
· Pain relievers. Pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may be used temporarily to ease the discomfort of spinal stenosis.
· Antidepressants. Nightly doses of tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, can help ease chronic pain.
· Anti-seizure drugs. Some anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), are used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
· Opioids. Drugs that contain codeine-related drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone) and hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin) may be useful for short-term pain relief
It's common for people who have spinal stenosis to become less active, in an effort to reduce pain. But that can lead to muscle weakness, which can result in more pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that may help:
· Build up your strength and endurance
· Maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine
· Improve your balance
Integrative medicine and alternative therapies may be used with conventional treatments to help you cope with spinal stenosis pain. Examples include:
· Massage therapy
· Chiropractic treatment
While injecting a steroid medication (corticosteroid) into the space around impingement won't fix the stenosis, it can help reduce the inflammation and relieve some of the pain. Steroid injections don't work for everyone. And repeated steroid injections can weaken nearby bones and connective tissue, so you can only get these injections a few times a year.
With this procedure, needle-like instruments are used to remove a portion of a thickened ligament in the back of the spinal column to increase spinal canal space and remove nerve root impingement. Only patients with lumbar spinal stenosis and a thickened ligament are eligible for this type of decompression.
Surgery may be considered if other treatments haven't helped or if you're disabled by your symptoms. The goals of surgery include relieving the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots by creating more space within the spinal canal. Surgery to decompress the area of stenosis is the most definitive way to try to resolve symptoms of spinal stenosis.