Canal Stenosis – Can Medication Be Used as Treatment

What is Canal Stenosis

Canal stenosis is the narrowing of the central spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord. There can be a wide range of causes for this, from age-related degeneration to injury. Although common and not always painful, it can be very disruptive to regular activities if they do develop. 

Conservative treatments are usually first recommended for patients who are experiencing pain related to spinal canal stenosis. More often than not the best approach will involve working with a physician to develop a plan. This plan will usually call for a combination of specific treatment approaches. While medications can be used for canal stenosis treatment, they will generally only be recommended as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. 

Types of Canal Stenosis Medication

Canal stenosis medications can be either prescription or over-the-counter drugs. In most cases, patients will be asked to first attempt to manage pain and other symptoms with over-the-counter medications, with stronger medication reserved for the most severe pain. Types of medications that a doctor may recommend to treat this condition include: 

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen
  • Prescription pain medication or muscle relaxants
  • Spinal injections that involve corticosteroids and a numbing agent

When taking medication for canal stenosis treatment, it is crucial to use the medication only as directed by your doctor. Be sure to use only the minimum amount needed for pain relief. 

Other Treatment Options

A full conservative treatment plan for canal stenosis can also include light exercises and stretching, hot/cold compression therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic care. It is also important to follow any recommendations for lifestyle changes such as posture improvement, weight management, or quitting smoking as these can be critical for promoting long-term spinal health. 

Often by following a recommended canal stenosis treatment plan, including medication to manage pain, patients are able to find the relief necessary for a good quality of life. However, if pain worsens or stops responding to conservative treatment, you may need spine surgery. 

If you are considering a surgical procedure, you should explore the possibility of minimally invasive spine surgery, including the outpatient procedures at BEST Health System. Our board-certified surgeons perform these procedures using muscle-sparing techniques that lead to many advantages for our patients. Contact us today to learn more.