by Dr. Robert Snow, PT, DPT, November 23, 2015
We are a Great Drug-free First Choice for Treatment
If you are looking for spinal stenosis treatment in Encinitas, please read on to learn how we can help.
Lower back pain in adults can be debilitating and is often attributed to missed days of work, decreased physical activity, and overuse of pain medications.
One type of lower back pain, called lumbar spinal stenosis, usually results from the degeneration of discs, ligaments, or any of the joints between the interlocking vertebrae (called facet joints) that form the spine. This wear and tear (often due to chronic arthritis) can narrow the space surrounding the spinal cord, drying out spinal discs and compressing the spinal nerves (cauda equina) and their nerve roots.
This condition mostly appears in patients aged 60 and older and can cause a painful and potentially disabling narrowing of the spinal canal. Specific symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Pain while standing or walking that gets better if you rest (sit or lie down),
- Twinge in the groin, buttocks, and upper thigh that does not move down the leg (like sciatic nerve pain),
- Pain that feels worse when you lean back and becomes less intense if you lean forward, and
- Discomfort that develops slowly over time, with a slow onset.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is frequently treated with surgery. But a recent clinical study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases and published recently in the medical journal, Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that physical therapy works just as well as surgery, but with considerably fewer complications for the patient.
Here’s a Summary of Information Regarding this Study
The study took place from November 2000 to September 2007. A total of 169 participants were randomly assigned and stratified by surgeon and sex (87 to surgery and 82 to PT), with 24-month follow-up completed by 74 and 73 participants in the surgery and PT groups, respectively. Mean improvement in physical function for the surgery and PT groups was 22.4 (95% CI, 16.9 to 27.9) and 19.2 (CI, 13.6 to 24.8), respectively. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed no difference between groups (24-month difference, 0.9 [CI, -7.9 to 9.6]). Sensitivity analyses using causal-effects methods to account for the high proportion of crossovers from PT to surgery (57%) showed no significant differences in physical function between groups.
Without a control group, it is not possible to judge success attributable to either intervention.
Surgical decompression yielded similar effects to a PT regimen among patients with LSS who were surgical candidates. Patients and health care providers should engage in shared decision-making conversations that include full disclosure of evidence involving surgical and nonsurgical treatments for LSS.
Give Us a Try First…We’ve Helped North County for over 20 Years
While non-surgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medicine and physical therapy, do not reverse spinal narrowing, they can provide enough pain relief and mobility that you may just decide not to have surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, we are is available to help.
Please contact us today, and our team will work with you to devise a program to help you control your back pain and restore your mobility.