So many patients speculate about the best treatment for spinal stenosis. They are tired of being in pain and even more frustrated with the lack of positive results offered by previous therapies they may have tried. This is an extremely common scenario in the back and neck pain treatment sector, regardless of the diagnosis. In reality, there is no singular and universal best treatment for stenosis, since the causes of spinal canal narrowing vary greatly, the symptoms are case-specific and the expectations for therapy differ from patient to patient. This is why it is vital to fully understand what is sourcing the problem and then discuss all the possible treatments which may be available. It is especially crucial to consider every option and not just focus on those care practices which might be offered by a particular doctor.
In essence, the scope of this article is the help patients to understand that they do have choices. However, all these therapy options have positive and negative considerations which must be carefully weighed before making a selection on the best treatment.
Best Treatment for Spinal Stenosis – Nonsurgical
In almost every case, conservative care is the rule of thumb when symptoms are not debilitating or threatening to neurological functionality. Conservative care is nonsurgical, which is excellent, since it bypasses the usual risk of spinal stenosis surgery. However, conservative care is also limited in what it can typically accomplish and may come with special risk factors of its own.
Virtually all conservative care options are symptomatic treatment. This means that they might improve the quality of life by minimizing the expression of symptoms, but will do nothing at all to resolve the underlying stenosis condition.
Patients with stable stenosis might actually thrive for decades, using purely conservative methods of treatment, without ever having to resort to surgical intervention. Conservative care can be constructive, such as chiropractic and massage, in that these modalities are good for people and can improve the general health, in addition to any benefits offered specifically for stenosis. However, conservative care can also be destructive, such as drug usage, since these products can cause many serious health problems to occur, especially with long term application.
Regardless of the safety, benefits or effectiveness of conservative care, it will almost never provide a cure. This is the real drawback, since it necessitates ongoing therapy basically forever.
Best Treatment for Spinal Stenosis – Moderate
Moderate treatments are offered to patients with more serious stenotic conditions, as well as those who have not enjoyed satisfactory results from more conservative practices. Moderate care techniques might be more costly or may be minimally invasive, so these should always be thoroughly researched before even being considered by a given patient.
Various injection therapies are the most typical form of moderate care, with epidural nerve blocks being effective in many patients. The least invasive of surgical techniques might also qualify, such as IDET and nucleoplasty, which might completely resolve a stenotic condition enacted by an extreme herniated intervertebral disc.
Spinal decompression also qualifies as a moderate option based on cost and the need to dedicate oneself to treatment for a month of more. However, this path of therapy can be highly effective for some disc and arthritic stenosis conditions and might provide a lasting cure for pain, without the potential horrors of spinal surgery. This is a very good thing, but the fact that costly decompression might not be covered by many health insurance policies is a true negative.
Best Treatment for Spinal Stenosis – Surgical
Surgical treatment for stenosis is geared towards actually resolving the physical condition enacting the canal impingement. This makes almost all surgeries curative in approach, although many do fail in providing adequate results.
Spinal surgery is usually minimally invasive and rarely involves large open incisions, as were common years ago. However, results from surgery are still very unpredictable and a large number of patients end up worse after their operations.
There is certainly a move away from surgical fixes for most back and neck pain conditions, since surgery has proven itself to fail more than it succeeds. Even dedicated spinal surgeons might be hard pressed to recommend that a given patient go under the knife, simply because they can not guarantee how life will be afterwards.
Some people feel better postoperatively. Sometimes this blessing lasts; while other times, the pain returns. Many people feel unchanged, but still have to go through a terribly painful recuperation period and extensive rehabilitation, just to get back to the same level of pain as they had prior to the ordeal. Worst of all are the patients who suffer symptomatic escalation and might even be completely debilitated by the operation. Failed back surgery is a very real potential destination for any patient and there is no way of knowing who will end up at this dead-end locale with little hope for a normal life ever again.
This article could go on and on, but we will leave you with these thoughts to research further on your own. Each treatment mentioned is thoroughly detailed on the sites of The Cure Back Pain Network and by reading more, you will get a complete view of each option. This is truly the only way to answer the best treatment question, as it applies to you.