Spinal stenosis occurs when your spine begins to narrow, putting pressure on nerves. It happens most often in the neck or lower back. Fortunately, treatment for neck and back pain can help ease discomfort in many cases. In some instances, treatment targets a common underlying cause known as spinal stenosis.
Diagnosing Spinal Stenosis
Before your practitioner recommends treatment, you’ll undergo testing to find the root cause of your symptoms. First, your practitioner will ask you to fill out a medical history form. They will recommend you undergo a physical exam, as well.
In some cases, your doctor will recommend one or more imaging tests to view the internal structures of your spine. For instance, your physician may order an X-ray. The images help your doctor see any abnormalities, injuries, or growths that may be decreasing the space in the spine. Your doctor may also order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses a strong magnetic force and radio waves to generate images of the spine. Your doctor may also recommend a computerized tomography (CT) scan. A CT uses X-ray technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body. It can help your practitioner look for bone spurs, tumors, and herniated discs that can put pressure on nerves.
Possible Spinal Stenosis Treatments
The treatment you receive depends on the cause of your spinal stenosis and the severity of it. For example, if spinal stenosis is only causing mild symptoms, your practitioner may just recommend continual monitoring. Medications, physical therapy, and minimally invasive surgery can help when you have recurring or moderate to severe pain.
If you have chronic pain due to spinal stenosis, your doctor may suggest taking over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. If these medications aren’t enough to relieve symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever to combat pain. These are generally given on a short-term basis only since they’re addictive; however, your practitioner may recommend them long-term if the benefits outweigh the risks. Your treatment may consist of an anti-convulsant like gabapentin or pregabalin. These drugs help relieve nerve-related pain. Tricyclic antidepressants, such as imipramine, desipramine, or amitriptyline, can lessen nerve-related pain.
Physical therapy consists of a practitioner guiding you through exercises that increase muscle strength, which has the potential to diminish as you become less active from spinal stenosis. During physical therapy, you’ll also perform exercises that increase your stability, endurance, and flexibility, as well.
If spinal stenosis irritates your nerves, your doctor may recommend a steroid injection. This drug reduces pain and swelling. This treatment can be repeated every so often.
Decompression and Surgery
Decompression is a procedure that uses instruments to remove a part of the ligament in your back. This enhances the amount of spinal space you have. This option is only for people who have a thickened ligament around this portion of the back.
A doctor may refer you for surgery if other options don’t effectively treat your spinal stenosis. For example, your physician may refer you to a surgeon for a laminectomy to remove a portion of the lamina that’s limiting the space in your spine.
Interventional Pain Management for Spinal Stenosis in Melbourne, FL
At Central Florida Spine & Pain, we offer non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments for neck and back pain in Melbourne, Florida. You can find neck or back pain relief for conditions like spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, arthritis, and various other issues. We work with you every step of the way to find a treatment best suited for your condition, even if that means referring you for surgery once you’ve exhausted all other options.
Book an appointment with Central Florida Spine & Spine, serving Melbourne and the surrounding areas, for pain relief today. Call (321) 802-5021, or use our contact form to reach us today.