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Can Spinal Stenosis Be Reversed?

Spinal stenosis is a common condition among older adults, with about 20% of those older than 60 having some degree of this degenerative disease. Fortunately, around 80% of adults with spinal stenosis don’t experience any symptoms.

But, for those who do feel pain and weakness in their legs, neck, or back, symptoms can vary from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating and life-changing. At Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine in Lake Geneva and Kenosha, Wisconsin, double board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain medicine specialist Cyril Philip, MD, can develop a personalized treatment plan to help you alleviate pain and discomfort caused by spinal stenosis. 

Here, Dr. Philip explains the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for spinal stenosis and weighs in on whether it’s reversible. 

What causes spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal narrows. This narrowing of the small spinal cord space puts pressure on nerves. Spinal stenosis most commonly occurs in the lower spine or lumbar region. It can lead to sciatica, which radiates pain, tingling, weakness in your buttocks and legs, back pain, and numbness in your feet. Spinal stenosis gets worse over time and can eventually lead to sexual and bladder problems.

While spinal stenosis is a result of wear and tear on your joints over time, other causes include spinal injury, tumors, previous surgeries, spinal problems, or rheumatoid arthritis. Most people with spinal stenosis are over 50.

Spinal stenosis treatment options

Unfortunately, you can’t reverse spinal stenosis. However, you can substantially reduce symptoms and pain so you can return to an active, pain-free lifestyle. Your treatment options depend on the severity and location of your symptoms. 

Conservative treatment options include activity modification, over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and physical therapy. If you don’t find relief from non-invasive treatment options, Dr. Philip may recommend a minimally invasive option such as steroid injections to reduce swelling.

Other effective minimally-invasive treatment options include the Vertiflex™ treatment, a decompression procedure involving an implanted device, or the MILD® procedure, a minimally-invasive treatment to remove excess ligament tissue that can add extra space in your spinal canal.

And lastly, surgery is an option that can help restore spine alignment and relieve pressure on your spinal cord. 

If you’re experiencing pain, tingling, or weakness in your legs or back, call Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine to make an appointment with Dr. Philip or request one online today.

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