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Weekend Doctor: Treatment for spinal stenosis

By Heather Auxier, APRN-CNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner, Blanchard Valley Pain Management

Spinal stenosis is a debilitating condition characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal or neural foramen that can lead to compression of the spinal cord and nerves. There are various treatment options to help this condition.  

Conservative therapies include physical therapy, activity modification, and exercise. These treatment options help to improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and enhance posture to alleviate pain symptoms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Tylenol or ibuprofen can offer temporary relief by reducing pain and inflammation. Long term medications should be carefully monitored due to potential side effects.

Injection therapy and interventional treatments include varying types of injections. They have gained popularity for their effectiveness and ability to provide significant pain relief and improve functional status. 

Epidural steroid injections involve an injection of corticosteroids directly into the epidural space or transforamin, which surrounds the spinal nerves. These injections help reduce inflammation and nerve irritation and consequently alleviate a patient's pain for three to six months.

Nerve root injections deliver medication directly near the affected nerve to reduce inflammation and pain. This targeted approach can provide considerable pain relief, especially for patients who have not responded well to other treatment options.

In conclusion, the treatment options that relieve spinal stenosis symptoms are able to improve affected individuals' quality of life. Conservative therapies include physical therapy and medications, while interventional treatment, such as injection therapies, can provide targeted more immediate pain relief. 

It is essential to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on a patient’s symptoms and response to the treatment. Overall, a comprehensive approach that combines conservative and interventional therapies can maximize outcomes for patients with spinal stenosis.