Spinal Stenosis: 5 Ways to Manage the Pain

The answer to the question ‘What is stenosis?’ may be difficult if you’ve never heard of it or experienced spinal pain or discomfort. Spinal stenosis occurs when spinal nerves and spinal cord compress due to the narrowing of spaces within the spinal column. Most commonly, stenosis develops in the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. When stenosis develops, the patient experiences discomfort, pain, and even limited mobility. Other common symptoms include numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling. Pain management techniques for spinal stenosis include the following:

Medications

The use of medications is one of the common techniques for managing spinal stenosis. Medications can include prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs. Analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most popular over-the-counter drugs used in managing pain resulting from stenosis. When it comes to prescription drugs, acetaminophen – though available over the counter – is a popular choice among physicians.

Also read: Top 10 Physiotherapy Exercises To Treat Your Lower Back Pain

Exercise and Physical Therapy

Another important technique for managing stenosis pain is physical therapy. This technique is preferable because, in addition to alleviating pain, it helps in managing inflammation and stiffness. For the most part, physicians recommend exercises and physical therapy as a suitable technique for managing this condition. And although these are not a cure, exercises and guided stretches help in the strengthening of weakened muscles and improving movement.

Epidural Steroid Injections

These are minimally invasive treatments that aid in alleviating discomfort and pain. An epidural steroid injection combines corticosteroid medication with a numbing substance to offer comfort at the time it’s administered to the patient. A specialist injects the drugs into the epidural space of the spine to minimize inflammation and deliver pain-relieving medication directly to the area of the spine that is affected.

Posture Adjustment

Posture adjustment can be a useful technique for managing spinal pain because your posture directly impacts your spinal health. Poor standing and sitting posture could worsen the symptoms but a healthy posture can enhance spine health, reducing discomfort and pain. That is the case because poor posture may put extra stress and strain on your spine, worsening the areas that have been affected by stenosis. While the emphasis is often placed on the standing or sitting posture, the posture when at rest also impacts your spinal health.

Facet Nerve Blocks

A facet nerve block is a treatment that involves placing a needle into the facet joint. This treatment is administered with the help of imaging guidance for the injection of the anaesthetic and steroid. A facet nerve block may be placed at one or various levels of the spine, depending on the symptoms of the patient. The reason this technique is used is to determine the exact source of the pain as painful areas will respond once the medicine has been injected.

Bottom Line

In cases where non-surgical techniques do not offer sufficient relief from the symptoms of spinal stenosis, then surgery becomes a viable option. This option is an alternative especially when spinal stenosis results in unbearable pain or leads to neurological symptoms like numbness and weakness. The good thing about the surgery is that it is an effective pain treatment, with a majority of patients noting effective relief following a surgical procedure.