Pain Management Options for Spinal Stenosis

by admin on January 19, 2015

Freelance article by Helen Burns

Spinal stenosis is a very common ailment for people the world over and the pain can range from uncomfortable to intolerable. No matter what level of pain you experience with spinal stenosis, you will undoubtedly be in search of a way to treat it. Naturally, as it is such a common occurrence, there are a number of different treatment methods that you can try out yourself ranging from medication to more holistic approaches. We would, however, recommend you get advice from a qualified doctor before trying out any of these treatments on your own as every patient must be evaluated on an individual basis and in the context of their own underlying health, age, and activity level. Having said that, the treatments listed below have been claimed by many sufferers of varying degrees of spinal stenosis to help relieve their symptoms.

Medicinal treatment for spinal stenosischiropractic for spinal stenosis back and leg pain

There are many different medicines commonly prescribed to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis. These include Acetaminophen, which is a powerful pain reliever that does not reduce inflammation, and less powerful anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs), such as naproxen and ibuprofen, which relieve pain and reduce inflammation. The main problem with painkillers such as those listed above is that they only relieve pain temporarily and may not even work in the case of chronic pain. If the spinal stenosis is on going, there is also the risk of becoming addicted to prescription medicines, which will require it’s own expert treatment. Many sufferers worried about taking too many prescription drugs are now looking to alternative methods of therapy.

The benefits of exercising over medication

Joints in the spine are just like joints everywhere in the body – they need to move in order to prevent seizing up and the supporting muscles wasting away. Exercise is an important part of rehabilitation for sufferers of spinal stenosis. The best thing to do is to find exercises that you can easily do and that are enjoyable. Here are a few reasons why you should exercise if you suffer from back pain:

  • Exercising increases blood flow to the back, bringing it nutrients and washing out toxins.
  • The muscles around the spine will strengthen over time providing much needed support and taking the pressure off of more static structures.
  • Exercising will keep you flexible, preventing the tightening of muscles that can worsen the symptoms of spinal stenosis
  • Regular exercise will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight can put tremendous pressure on your spine.

With all its benefits, exercise is not any recommended to sufferers of spinal stenosis but to anyone who wishes to ward of the symptoms before they occur. In the short term, however, before the muscles become used to it, spinal stenosis symptoms can often worsen after exercise. If this occurs you should treat it with ice.

Ice treatment for spinal stenosis

Placing ice or an ice pack on the lower back is a very common way to reduce inflammation that can occur after movement or exercise. Icing the area of pain also numbs the affected area and brings temporary pain relief. You don’t necessarily need to invest in expensive medical equipment for this task- a bag of frozen peas will work just as well. Apply the ice pack to the area for roughly ten minute at a time. However, if there is a lack of sensation when icing, you should leave the area alone to avoid damaging the skin. An alternative an contrasting treatment for pain is heat treatment.

Heat treatment for spinal stenosis

If the pain is derived from muscles that are too tight, applying a heat pack can encourage them too relax and loosen off. Heat will also stimulate blood flow, which accelerates the healing process. Again, there is not much need in investing in expensive equipment if you have a hot water bottle lying around the house.

Conclusion

For temporary pain relief from spinal stenosis, medication is not the only option. An increasing number of people are becoming wary of the health implications of taking prescription medicines over a long period of time and are opting for other ways to treat pain. Many shop bought painkillers are not good to take all the time and for chronic sufferers they may not have any benefit at all. Regular gentle exercise, ice treatment to reduce swelling and heat treatment to increase blood flow and relax the muscles can be a safer alternative.

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