What Are the Treatments for Spinal Stenosis?

Q:
What are the treatments for spinal stenosis?

A:
Your doctor may start off with nonsurgical treatments. These might include:

  • Medication: Common pain remedies such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and naproxen can offer short-term relief. All are available in low doses without a prescription. Other medications, including muscle relaxants and anti-seizure medications, treat aspects of spinal stenosis, such as muscle spasms and damaged nerves.
  • Anesthetics: Used with precision, an injection of a “nerve block” can stop pain for a time.
  • Assistive devices: You might get braces, a corset, or a walker to help you move about.
  • Corticosteroid injections: Your doctor will inject a steroid such as prednisone into your back or neck. Steroids make inflammation go down. However, because of side effects, they are used sparingly.
  • Exercise: You can improve your flexibility, strength, and balance with regular activity. Your doctor may recommend a physical therapist to help you.

Your doctor or a physical therapist will design a program specific to your normal level of activity, physical fitness, and severity of pain.

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