How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of spinal stenosis, your doctor will start by taking a medical history, performing a physical exam, and observing your movements.
Your doctor may also order tests to check for signs of stenosis, such as:
- X-ray, MRI scan, or CT scan to view images of your spine
- electromyogram to check the health of spinal nerves
- bone scan to look for damage or growths in your spine
What are the treatment options for spinal stenosis?
To treat spinal stenosis, your doctor will likely start by prescribing medication.
Cortisone injections into your spinal column can reduce swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help ease pain.
Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to help strengthen and stretch your muscles.
If you have severe pain or weakness, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat spinal stenosis.
They may also prescribe surgery if the condition is affecting your ability to walk, control your bowel or bladder, or do other routine activities.
Several types of surgery are used to treat spinal stenosis:
- Laminectomy is the most common type of surgery. A surgeon removes part of the vertebrae to provide more room for the nerves.
- Foraminotomy is used to widen the part of the spine where the nerves exit.
- Spinal fusion is typically performed in more severe cases, especially when multiple levels of the spine are involved. Bone grafts or metal implants are used to attach the affected bones of the spine together