The spine isn’t a completely solid structure. It contains open spaces, called the spinal canal. The spinal canal houses the spinal cord and nerves. If you’re informed that you have spinal stenosis, it means that the spinal canal is narrower than it should be. This exerts pressure on the delicate nerves, causing pain, numbness, and muscle weakness. Spinal stenosis can be quite painful, but there are effective treatment options available. Talk to a spine doctor in Miami to explore your options.
If you’re experiencing troublesome pain, your spine doctor may recommend medications. These can be helpful for managing symptoms while you work through a rehab program. Some spinal stenosis patients achieve sufficient relief of pain with over-the-counter medicines like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or anti-seizure drugs may be appropriate in some cases.
If you’ve had spinal stenosis for a while, you may have reduced your physical activity level to cope with the pain. Unfortunately, a sedentary lifestyle contributes to muscle weakness, which will only serve to worsen your symptoms. Your physical therapist can guide you through a customized program of stretches and exercises. Your physical therapy program can reduce your pain and improve your balance, endurance, strength, flexibility, and stability.
Your spine doctor might recommend back injections. An injection is useful for delivering an anti-inflammatory medication directly to the site of the pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs not only relieve pain, but they also reduce the inflammation. Inflamed tissues become swollen, which further reduces the space available to the spinal nerves. Bringing down the inflammation can be effective for managing spinal stenosis symptoms.
Spinal Decompression Surgery
If nonsurgical treatments aren’t doing enough to manage your symptoms and restore your quality of life, it may be time to think about having surgery. Your spine doctor will determine if you’re a good candidate for surgery. The goal of spinal decompression surgery is to increase the available space for the nerves in order to relieve the compression and, subsequently, your symptoms. Spinal decompression can be achieved with a laminectomy or a laminotomy. Both of these approaches involve altering the lamina, which is the back part of the vertebra. A laminectomy removes the lamina entirely, whereas a laminotomy removes part of the lamina.