Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a painful disease of the lower back, although it can affect any part of the spinal column.  It involves a narrowing of the spinal canal that compresses on the spinal cord, causing pain, numbness, paralysis, or tingling of the lower extremities.

Most cases of spinal stenosis occur in the lumbar spine, which is the lowest part of the spine.

5 Ways to Get Pain Relief from Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis often comes from arthritis of the vertebrae, causing the bones to develop bony spurs that can enter the spinal canal where the spinal cord is located.  The pain can be located in the area of the stenosis but can also occur when the nerves become pinched as they exit the spinal cord.  In such cases, there can be pain that radiates along the length of the nerve, usually in the legs.

1. Surgery

Some people with spinal stenosis will have surgery to remove the blockage of the spinal cord.  This is a risky surgery, especially if you are not in good health, and may result in ongoing pain in the area of the stenosis.  Usually, the pain from spinal cord compression is relieved after surgery as the nerves are freed up and there is no narrowing of the spinal canal.

2. Pain Medication

If you do not want to have surgery for spinal stenosis, you can achieve pain relief from spinal stenosis by taking medications to ease the pain.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (marketed as Advil and Motrin) or naproxen sodium (marketed as Naprosyn and Aleve), may reduce the inflammation of the nerves and spinal cord.

If NSAIDs from the pharmacy do not work, the doctor may be able to prescribe a prescription strength NSAID medication, such as ketoprofen.  Ultram, which is slightly stronger than NSAIDs, can be prescribed as well.  If the pain is particularly severe, the doctor may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever for times when the pain interferes with sleep or activities of daily living.  These are not prescribed often as they can be extremely addictive.

Always consult a doctor before taking any medication.

3. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can cause pain relief from spinal stenosis.  The physical therapist cannot take away the fact that the spinal column is being compressed but can teach you exercises that might ease the pain.  They can also use hot or cold therapy on the back to help relieve the pain.

4. Back Brace

A back brace can also be worn to help reduce the pain caused by spinal stenosis.  You basically put the elastic brace around the waist in order to prevent the back from moving very much.  Spinal stenosis pain is usually made worse when bending or twisting the back so bracing the back can reduce the effect of the vertebrae impinging on the spinal cord and may also relieve leg pain.

5. Massage

Massage of the back may be able to relieve some of the pain associated with spinal stenosis.  When you have spinal stenosis pain, it causes the muscles of the back to go into spasm, increasing the pain in the area of the back.  It won’t relieve the leg pain but it can do wonders for the back or neck pain. You can go to a massage therapist or get a massage chair and enjoy the treatment right from your home.

How are you dealing with pain relief from Spinal Stenosis?