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In this article, explain what spinal stenosis is, how it occurs and if pain can be treated without surgery.

Can Spinal Stenosis Pain Be Treated Without Surgery?

Most back pain can be traced back to a problem with a disc in the spine. Disc issues fall into three common conditions: spinal stenosis, disc bulges, and disc herniations.

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Our backbone protects the spinal cord and nerves. When we are young, our nerves thread easily through the holes at the connection points between our vertebral joints. Over time, these openings in the bone become smaller and narrower, and can compress the nerves inside, causing pain. In addition, arthritis may affect the nice smooth bone surfaces, thickening them and making the holes even smaller. The hole in the bone may no longer be big enough to handle the nerve structure inside. When bone bumps against or makes contact with the nerves, they can become inflamed, swell, and get thicker. The combination of smaller bone openings and thicker inflamed nerves creates stenosis.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

Although spinal stenosis can affect discs anywhere along the spinal column, about 75 percent of spinal stenosis occurs in the low back, or lumbar spine. The symptoms of spinal stenosis are commonly associated with sciatica; they can include lower back pain as well as pain that travels into the legs. People with stenosis may experience frequent falling, clumsiness, and difficulty with walking. Stenosis pain may be described as a sense of numbness, tingling, or hot and cold feelings in the legs.

Spinal stenosis treatment options

Summit Orthopedics, now partnering with Osceola Medical Center, is home to the area’s top spine specialists for spinal stenosis treatment. Because stenosis can develop slowly over time, patients can experience it even when they don’t have any previous history of back problems or injury. Fortunately, changes in posture, physical therapy, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can often relieve the symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of stenosis, the health care-team at Osceola Medical Center will work with you to confirm a diagnosis and develop an appropriate conservative treatment plan to address your problems.

“When I have patients with a diagnosis of spinal stenosis, there’s one question I hear a lot,” says Andrew Clary, DO, orthopedic anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist. “People want to know if they can expect the pain to go away without surgery. It’s understandable. The idea of surgery can be scary. But the answer isn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’—it’s a conversation.”

“At Osceola Medical Center and Summit, we always begin with conservative treatments for spinal stenosis pain when appropriate,” explains Dr. Clary. “There are several nonsurgical treatments for a diagnosis of pain related to spinal stenosis. These include medications, therapy, or injections. Unfortunately, not everyone responds the same way to pain treatments. If conservative therapies don’t relieve pain, then I have a conversation about other alternatives. When I refer my patients to a spine surgeon, it’s because I think they might benefit from treatment that I don’t offer.

Start your journey to a healthy spine: Learn more about out Spine Specialist, Dr. Clary below or call us at 715-294-2111 to schedule a spine consultation.

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