Spinal stenosis happens when the spaces within your spine narrow. As your spinal column narrows, it places excess pressure on your spinal cord and nerves leading to pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. Living with spinal stenosis can be challenging, and if you’re one of the millions affected by it, you might wonder if there is a cure for this condition.
Below, Dr. John Regan and the team at Spine Group Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, California, explore the treatment options available for spinal stenosis and discuss whether a complete cure exists.
Understanding spinal stenosis
Before we can discuss the potential of a cure, it’s important to understand the nature of spinal stenosis.
The condition typically develops gradually as a result of age-related changes in your spine, such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or thickened ligaments. While it can’t be reversed entirely, there are effective treatments that can alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with spinal stenosis.
Initially, Dr. Regan often recommends conservative approaches to manage spinal stenosis symptoms. These non-surgical methods aim to reduce pain and increase mobility. Common conservative treatments include:
Specific exercises and stretches can strengthen the back and abdominal muscles, improve flexibility, and promote better posture 一 all of which help to relieve pressure on your spine.
We may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain relievers, and muscle relaxants to manage pain and reduce inflammation associated with spinal stenosis.
Epidural steroid injections
In some cases, corticosteroid injections into the affected area can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation. These injections include a local anesthetic to provide pain relief as well as a steroid to reduce inflammation.
The use of assistive devices such as canes or walkers can help you maintain balance and stability while walking, reducing the strain on the spine.
If conservative treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, we may consider surgical intervention. The primary goal of surgery for spinal stenosis is to decompress the affected nerves and create more space within the spinal canal. Surgical options include:
Minimally invasive decompression surgery
Dr. Regan performs this surgery to remove thickened ligaments. With the thickened ligaments out of the way, it opens up space in your spinal canal.
This procedure involves removing a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina, which helps increase the space for the nerves. You might benefit from this surgical procedure if bone spurs are taking up too much space in your spinal canal.
This surgical technique widens the passageways (foramina) where the nerve roots exit the spinal column, relieving pressure on the nerves. This procedure may be right for you if you have foraminal spinal stenosis.
The quest for a cure
While the aforementioned treatments can provide significant relief and improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal stenosis, the question remains: Is there a cure?
Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure that can completely reverse the condition. Spinal stenosis is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management to control symptoms and prevent further deterioration. Keep in mind, though, that “no cure” doesn’t mean “zero management.”
Managing spinal stenosis
Living with spinal stenosis involves a combination of treatments and lifestyle modifications to manage symptoms effectively.
Here are a few strategies that can help:
- Regular exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Practicing good posture and body mechanics, especially when lifting items
- Utilizing heat or cold therapy, massage, and other pain management techniques as directed by Dr. Regan
While there is currently no cure for spinal stenosis, various treatment options and lifestyle modifications are available to manage its symptoms effectively.
Here at Spine Group Beverly Hills, Dr. Regan and our expert team can help you manage spinal stenosis through both conservative approaches, such as physical therapy and medication, as well as surgical interventions.
By adopting a proactive approach and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, people with spinal stenosis can lead fulfilling lives with reduced pain and improved mobility. To learn more about your potential spinal stenosis management options, give us a call at 424-238-3281 or book an appointment today.