Spinal Stenosis - Treatment
Mobility is generally good for the spine. Leaning forward often relieves some of the symptoms. Pushing a supermarket trolley may be easier than just standing. An exercise bike may help maintain fitness and reduce the risk of weight gain. Some patients find an all-terrain rollator frame useful for mobility and independence.
MedicationsThe three main groups that are helpful for pain, either alone or in combination are
Exercise treatmentThere are no specific exercise treatments for spinal stenosis. However, it is important to keep yourself fit and to keep as active as possible. Whatever exercise you enjoy and doesn’t cause too much discomfort is good for you. Cycling (e.g. on an exercise bike) can be very useful because the flexed position on the bike can give some relief of leg symptoms and is often an exercise tolerated well in spinal stenosis.
InjectionsThese can be helpful for pain that is going down the leg. They do not seem to be helpful for back pain.
The most common operation is a simple decompression. This surgery will involve removing some bone to widen the spinal canal to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. If required, a fusion may be done as part of the operation to decompress the nerves. This may involve a bone graft and metal screws and rods to stabilise the spine. Large studies on the outcomes of surgery for spinal stenosis have shown that early results such as quality of life, satisfaction with symptoms and self-rated progress were improvements that lasted over a long time after surgery.
The results of surgery are good with many patients experiencing useful improvements in walking distance and leg pain. There are some risks with spinal surgery. Patients are advised to discuss all treatment options with their Doctor.