narrowing. The most common symptoms
• Pain with walking or prolonged
• A feeling of heaviness, weakness or
tiredness in the legs.
• Numbness or tingling in the legs.
Symptoms often disappear with rest
or when sitting down. Even leaning or
bending forward may relieve pressure
on the nerves.
Treatment is based on the severity
of symptoms. Most cases of spinal
stenosis are treated conservatively to
control or lessen the symptoms.
Spinal stenosis generally responds
well to non-surgical care. Treatments
may include the following:
• Medication. Over-the-counter pain
relievers and anti-inflammatory
medications, muscle relaxants, and
some pain medications may be
• Physical therapy. Exercises may be
used to strengthen back and abdominal
muscles and maintain flexibility
of the spine. Correct posture
and body movements also reduce
pressure on the spine.
• Rest and slowed follow-on activity:
Decreased activity or rest may be
prescribed, followed by gradual resumption
of activities and exercise.
• Weight loss. In some cases, losing
weight relieves stress on the spine.
• Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI). This injection
can help reduce severe pain
and swelling in the spinal canal if
other conservative treatments do not
Although the majority of spinal stenosis
problems do not require surgery,
sometimes the pain and resulting disability
are so severe that back surgery
is the only option. Surgery aims to
restore alignment and strength, and
to alleviate pressure on the spinal column
and nerves. During a decompressive
laminectomy of the lumbar spine,
a section of bone called the lamina is
removed from the back of the spine to
enlarge the tube of the spinal canal. A
portion of the facet joints, which connect
vertebrae and give the spine its
flexibility, may also require removal.
To help preserve flexibility, a spinal
fusion may also be recommended.
Most patients get up and walk the
day of surgery under the guidance of
medical personnel. The average hospital
stay is one to two days, depending
upon individual circumstances.
For more information, contact Michael R. Piazza, M.D.:
Orthopaedic Specialties of Tampa Bay • 1011 Jeffords St, Suite D, Clearwater, FL 33756
727-442-8804 • www.orthospecmd.com
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