The Alternatives to Surgery


Spinal stenosis leaves many people who suffer from the degenerative disease faced with the choice of surgery, for pain relief. There are alternative solutions to try for relief with the hope of checking off having an operation off the to-do list. The alternative solutions do not always work, and the Ess word (surgery) becomes increasingly feasible for those whose pain is just too intolerable to bear on a daily basis.

You can develop spinal stenosis from deterioration due to, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, tumors, herniated disks, bone spurs on the spine and injuries to the spine. Some people are genetically predisposed to spinal stenosis due to being born with a narrowing of the spine. Nerve pain develops from the trapped nerves that can weigh down a person’s tolerance for pain, causing the pain to be unbearable. There is no cure for Spinal Stenosis, but there are treatment options to minimize the level of pain.

This graphic is of the different stages that a healthy spine goes through as it deteriorates on the outside of the spine. Spinal stenosis comes from narrowing on the inside where the nerves are and become trapped from outside degenerated disc. Image Source: Cynthia Gladden.

There are non-surgical treatments available for the relief of the chronic back pain for spinal stenosis. The treatments range from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NAISDs), epidural injections, opiates, and exercise. If overweight, weight loss, or maintaining weight through a regular exercise program can also help, relieve the pain symptoms of the chronic pain of spinal stenosis. Stretching and walking every day is the key to most exercising techniques for the patient; this helps keep muscles flexible, which is important in long term of the disease. Finding relief from the non-surgical methods alleviates the surgery for the relief of pain, caused by the narrowing of the spine leading to nerve pain.

After all the researching and tips to control the pain, some people still opt to have surgery after years of trying to keep pain levels a minimum. There are several different spinal stenosis procedures, and as the alternative methods, sometimes the surgery works and sometimes it does not. When led to make the decision a Neurologist that works with nerve issues is a good place to start asking questions. A Neurologist will refer you to a Neurosurgeon who is a spinal surgery specialist, and you will be advised of the risk and benefits involved in surgery for the relief of pain due to spinal stenosis.

Regardless of what treatment option that is chosen, a lifestyle change is inevitable to help cope with being as pain-free as possible. Living a full and functional life can become a person’s goal after living in chronic pain for years of trying to be pain-free.