What is Canal Stenosis?
Spinal canal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is obstructed by a damaged component of the spine. This can include a herniated disc, bulging disc, or bone spur. Patients who have this condition may not even recognize that they have this condition. Sometimes, when the narrowing of the spinal canal is brought on by another degenerative spine condition, symptoms slowly develop and may be confused with general back stiffness or another spine condition.
Does Canal Stenosis Require Treatment?
Approaches to canal stenosis treatment vary, depending on the location and severity of the symptoms and the underlying causes. However, the overall goal of treatment is to relieve pain and improve the range of motion. This allows you to comfortably engage in normal activities and enjoy time with the people you love. The following overview of how canal stenosis treatment works can give you a better understanding of what to expect as you work with your doctor to develop an effective care plan.
Your Conservative Treatment Options
Many of the symptoms caused by this condition result from the compression of nerves within the spine, a problem that can lead to pain, numbness, weakness, and other issues. Additionally, to relieve these issues, your doctor will often recommend you start with a course of conservative canal stenosis treatment approaches. Some commonly suggested methods include:
- Specific exercises and physical therapy to strengthen supporting muscles.
- Stretching exercises temporarily expand the spinal column and take pressure off pinched nerves.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve swelling and reduce pain.
- Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation around nerves and dull pain, especially pain that spreads from the location of the nerve compression to the extremities.
- Lifestyle changes like starting a weight management plan, quitting smoking, and improving posture.
It is important to work closely with your doctor as you seek lasting relief for canal stenosis. Finding the best combination of treatments will vary since each patient is different.
If conservative canal stenosis treatment is ineffective, then you might want to consider surgery. Traditional open-back surgery is no longer the norm, and BEST Health System offers patients access to less-invasive treatments.
Canal Stenosis Surgery
Surgical canal stenosis treatment usually attempts to address the underlying cause of the condition by removing the displaced spinal anatomy that is constricting the spinal canal. Surgery is typically a last resort for patients who attempt a full course of conservative treatments without experiencing enough relief for a good quality of life.
Historically, traditional open spine surgery, a highly invasive procedure requiring overnight hospitalization, was the only surgical option to provide symptom relief. However, advances in medical technology and surgical technique have allowed for the development of minimally invasive procedures that require less disruption of the surrounding muscles.
Treatment with Dr. Girton
At BEST Health System, our licensed neck and back surgeon, Dr. Girton specializes in minimally invasive procedures. This provides patients with a variety of benefits. Such as smaller incisions and a faster recovery time, all on an outpatient basis.
Call our office today to learn more about the procedures Dr. Girton can perform. Our patient care coordinators are dedicated to helping patients find the best canal stenosis treatment option. Depending on the severity of your canal stenosis, there will be a different solution for your pain.