Spinal Stenosis Surgery

For most people spinal stenosis surgery is the final step in a pain control program. Lumbar stenosis treatment doesn't necessarily have to include surgery, but, if pain can't be controlled with non-surgical methods, an operation is an option. The good news for people suffering with a lumbar affliction is that non-surgical methods are can relieve the pain and suffering for a period of time. In fact, the symptoms could be controlled indefinitely. But non-surgical methods are not curative. Spinal stenosis surgery is about the only way remedy of the ailment. Lumbar stenosis is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal. This can occur suddenly, but the condition usually develops over a long period of time. As the canal narrows, nerve roots that branch out from the spinal cord become irritated or squeezed, and treatment in some form becomes necessary to relieve the pain. Occasionally, the spinal cord itself can be irritated or pinched. Squeezed or irritated nerves cause pain or numbness that radiates from the lower back and down the legs. Tingling and weakness in the legs are also symptoms. Activity can increase the severity of symptoms.

If none non-surgical techniques don't relieve the symptoms or the pain becomes too much to handle, surgery is an option. Pain and disability are usually factors in determining when to have an operation. When a person's quality of life is impacted to the point that they have a difficult time caring for themselves, spinal stenosis surgery is the only remaining option. There are two common types of lumbar surgical procedures. Both have the same goal, which is to make room for the affected nerve to heal. The two types of lumbar surgery are called microdiscectomy and decompressive laminectomy. According to a medical website, microdiscectomy is more useful in treating leg pain than it is for back pain. Basically, a surgeon removes a portion of bone that is over the nerve root, or a portion of the disc located under the nerve root. This spinal stenosis surgery usually takes pressure off the nerve and provides ample space for healing. Lumbar laminectomy surgery is also called open decompression surgery. In this procedure a surgeon removes a portion of the bone over the nerve root and provides space for healing. There are other medical options available, such as spinal fusion. Individual characteristics and degree of disability are key factors in determining a course of treatment.

During spinal stenosis surgery, the patient is asleep under general anesthesia. After surgery, the patient is monitored for awhile in a recovery room and will usually leave the hospital within two to five days. Following surgery, patients may experience pain for a few weeks. But over-the-counter and prescription medications help relieve the discomfort. Depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient's overall health, recovery time may last from just a few weeks to half a year. Always keep faith in God and continue to pray for quick healing. In Psalm 38 David makes an appeal for relief of an unknown yet severe and painful illness. Severe pain and suffering can be debilitating both psychologically and physically as David's plea can attest. "I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. Lord all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee." (Psalms 38: 6-9) Pain is a difficult burden to handle alone, so seek the mercy of God through prayer.

If after the initial assessment the doctor determines that spinal stenosis surgery isn't needed immediately, an effective treatment program will be developed. If lumbar spinal stenosis is suspected, there are at least two ways to confirm the existence of a problem: an MRI scan or a CT scan. The CT scan is sometimes done using an X-ray dye that has been injected into the spinal fluid. Both an MRI and CT scan procedures are too in-depth to explain in such a short article. But there are some websites with detailed descriptions of both procedures. If diagnosed, people can successfully manage their pain and symptoms through non-surgical means. Generally, non-surgical treatments are preferable to spinal stenosis surgery. Treatment may include an exercise program supervised by a physical therapist, activity modification, and epidural injections. Keep in mind, none of these methods will produce a cure. They are merely a means of controlling pain. According to online sources, inactivity can be detrimental or even debilitating to lumbar spinal stenosis patients. Therefore, the physical therapist will design an exercise program that will keep the patient active but will not add to the problem.

Physical therapists sometimes use heat or cold therapy as well as water therapy to treat lumbar conditions. Acupuncture is an alternative treatment often used to relieve pain. After assessing musculoskeletal imbalances, a physical therapist can more easily determine a course of action, which may include electrical stimulation, stretching exercises, and posture training. Obviously, patients should avoid activity that causes any increase in pain and suffering, which could ultimately lead to spinal stenosis surgery. Again, the primary goal of the treatment program is to relieve a person's pain and suffering. And it may be necessary to modify activities to accomplish the goal. For example, people adjust the way they walk, or they use assistance while walking. Leaning forward while walking is more comfortable and helps to alleviate the pain. Canes, walkers, and shopping carts are useful supports for people who finding leaning forward a comfortable position but are concerned with losing their balance and falling. Finally, an epidural injection of cortisone usually relieves pain symptoms and is a valuable part of the spinal stenosis treatment. Injections are given several times over the course of a few months. For some people, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can be helpful.

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