How Do You Fix Spinal Stenosis Without Surgery?
Spinal stenosis is a leading cause of chronic back pain among older adults. It typically results from age-related wear and tear on the spine, which causes the spinal canal to narrow. With spinal stenosis, spinal structures often press on nearby nerves, leading to pain, numbness, tingling, and related symptoms.
Patients who have received a spinal stenosis diagnosis may be concerned about requiring surgery to fix their symptoms. While severe forms of this condition generally require surgery, there are various non-surgical methods of treating spinal stenosis in its earlier stages.
This article will discuss the existing methods of treating spinal stenosis without surgery. We’ll also explore current surgical treatment options for severe spinal stenosis.
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Can Spinal Stenosis Get Better Without Surgery?
Most spinal stenosis cases can be successfully treated without surgery. In fact, an estimated 70% of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis can effectively manage their symptoms with non-surgical treatments alone. Only 10% to 15% of lumbar stenosis patients must undergo surgery for their symptoms.
Although spinal stenosis patients often don’t require surgery, prompt treatment is essential to recovering from this condition. Patients generally need a combination of conservative therapies, such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, lifestyle changes, and steroid shots, to recover.
Can You Reverse Spinal Stenosis Naturally?
Unfortunately, spinal stenosis isn’t “reversible” without surgery. Once the spinal canal has narrowed, surgery is the only way to open it back up. However, it is often possible to experience lasting relief from spinal stenosis symptoms with natural treatments alone.
To treat spinal stenosis naturally, start by scheduling prompt appointments with a spine specialist in your area. You’ll need to be monitored by a skilled medical professional and receive personalized recommendations throughout your recovery process.
With that said, physical therapy and lifestyle adjustments are among the best natural treatments for spinal stenosis.
Physical Therapy For Spinal Stenosis
Physical therapy is widely recommended for spinal stenosis patients. It can benefit patients recovering from spinal stenosis naturally, as well as those recovering from spine surgery.
In physical therapy, patients generally receive a personalized selection of exercises and stretches. These are designed to improve muscular support for the spine while promoting mobility. Additionally, your physical therapist may recommend alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and electrical stimulation, to naturally encourage healing.
Lifestyle Adjustments For Spinal Stenosis
Adjusting your lifestyle can have a major impact on your spinal stenosis recovery process. Aspects of your lifestyle including your exercise routine, weight, and diet can make the difference in your ability to heal from spinal stenosis.
Your weight affects the amount of strain on your spine when you stand, walk, and exercise. Excess weight can place pressure on the intervertebral discs and spinal nerves, increasing your risk of developing neurological symptoms.
Additionally, your exercise routine can help or hinder your spinal stenosis recovery. Exercising regularly is important for spinal stenosis patients to remain mobile, retain muscle strength, and promote circulation. However, avoid activities that put the spine at risk (such as weightlifting, gymnastics, and contact sports).
What is The Newest Treatment For Spinal Stenosis?
Traditionally, spinal stenosis surgery has involved laminectomy with spinal fusion. Laminectomy alleviates nerve compression by extracting some or all of the lamina. Spinal fusion prevents instability after laminectomy by permanently fusing the affected vertebrae.
Unfortunately, spinal fusion creates the risk of adjacent segment degeneration and diminished mobility. Additionally, the rate of patients who require revision surgery after spinal fusion ranges from 9% to 45%.
With spinal fusion’s significant downsides, patients have long sought out treatment alternatives. Recent medical advancements have facilitated the release of many notable new spinal stenosis treatment options, including regenerative therapies, IDET, and non-fusion implants.
- Regenerative therapies
The use of regenerative medicine to treat pain caused by degeneration, disease, or trauma is expanding in the United States. Stem cell therapy, for example, can be used to help regenerate damaged spinal tissue in spinal stenosis patients.
Stem cells can regenerate into any cell type. By injecting stem cells (harvested from the patient or a donor) into the area affected by spinal stenosis pain, it’s possible to promote healing without surgery.
IDET stands for intradiscal electrothermal coagulation. It can be used to treat disc degeneration in the lumbar spine without surgery.
IDET involves inserting a needle into the lumbar disc region. A catheter is moved through the needle to gently heat the tough disc exterior. This process can reinforce collagen fibers in the disc exterior, potentially offering pain relief for patients suffering from spinal stenosis caused by intervertebral disc damage.
- Non-fusion implants
Non-fusion spine implants are specialized surgical devices that can be used instead of spinal fusion for spinal stenosis. While these devices come in many forms, they generally serve the purpose of stabilizing the spine without permanently joining the affected vertebrae.
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In cases of severe spinal stenosis, non-fusion implants may be used in conjunction with spinal decompression surgery. The implant can replace the tissues removed during the decompression procedure (typically laminectomy) to prevent stability and preserve motion.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery Without Fusion
The TOPS System is a non-fusion spinal implant that facilitates lumbar spinal stenosis surgery without fusion. It’s unique in that it restores spinal motion in all directions, including flexion, extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending. TOPS is designed specifically for patients with spinal stenosis of the lumbar region.
TOPS features internal metal stoppers that replace the natural bony elements that support the spine during axial rotation. It’s also anchored to the spine with four polyaxial pedicle screws for support. But, with a patented crossbar configuration, TOPS applies less force on the screws than fusion implants, allowing for greater longevity.
Rest assured, most spinal stenosis patients recover without the need for surgery. But, if you’re suffering from a severe form of this spinal condition, know that there are many innovative treatment options at your fingertips.