Pain Management and Spinal Stenosis

You or someone you love has probably experienced mild to severe back pain at any given time. That is because it is estimated that 31 million Americans will be troubled with lower back pain in their lifetime.

There are many conditions that can cause back pain, but if your physician has diagnosed you with spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the lumbar or cervical spinal regions – you likely know firsthand what living with, and managing, this type of pain is like. With this condition, the channels through which your spinal cord and nerve roots travel has become narrower and the nerve tissue may be squeezed or compressed.

This may cause you to experience myriad symptoms in addition to pain, including difficulty walking and numbness and tingling in your legs, to frequent falling and clumsiness. These symptoms are not only painful and inconvenient; they can become embarrassing and even dangerous. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your pain, some of which you can begin at home today.

Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can relieve the pain and inflammation often associated with spinal stenosis. Another effective home remedy that most people have on hand is the use of hot and cold packs at the site of the pain. You can apply the packs several times a day at 20 minute intervals, alternating hot and cold every couple of days or as you find most effective.

Participating in low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, can be a gentle way to move your body while not over-taxing it. If you find that’s not effective, try to limit your overall physical activity and allow yourself to rest more. You may also try wearing a neck or back brace, particularly when you are active, to take some of the stress off of your neck and spine.

Outside of home-based solutions you may want to consider visiting a local massage therapist for a deep tissue massage, which can bring some relief. An epidural steroid injection has also shown to be effective in some patients and can be administered by your physician.

Unfortunately, there are patients who do not respond to conservative treatments. In these cases, other options can be considered to relieve the pain, including the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. These procedures can relieve the pressure on affected nerves and patients have shorter downtimes than those who undergo open-back surgeries, allowing you to get back to an active lifestyle more quickly.

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