If the pain and numbness in your lower back or issues with bowel or bladder control have recently led to the diagnosis of spinal stenosis, your physician is likely to have some treatment suggestions. Common options include the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications, including steroids, for pain management. In addition, physical therapy has also been helpful to many people with spinal stenosis because it can often strengthen any muscles that have degraded or atrophied from non-use as the result of your pain. Therefore, even if you are fortunate enough to be without pain at this time from spinal stenosis, the following information will be quite useful.
Pain Management Options
As with most chronic pain, your physician may be able to recommend medications for managing your pain. However, it's important to note that it is easy to become dependent on prescription pain meds and therefore it is crucial to balance your use of them against your pain. As a result, your doctor may limit the bulk of your medication use to over-the-counter and non-narcotic pain meds whenever possible.
Anti-depressants have also proven useful to many patients, both as effective pain management in some instances and to fight the symptoms of depression that are often the result of chronic pain. Your care plan will be unique to your situation, may include physical therapy now or in the future, and will probably evolve in the future if your condition worsens.
Recovering With Physical Therapy
When something hurts, it is a basic human reaction to quit doing it, but in this instance, that instinct can allow some of your muscles to weaken. The problem often manifests because many people who are living with regular pain from spinal stenosis often establish a more sedentary lifestyle, avoiding walking, running and lifting anything unnecessary. That will often allow your muscles to lose some of their strength, which can then lead to increased pain when you have no choice but to engage in those activities again.
Fortunately, targeted physical therapy towards the affected area can help to rebuild the muscles. In addition, it might also be suggested as a tool for pain management, as mentioned previously. Spinal decompression therapy is a popular option for treating spinal stenosis and consists of using slow, controlled traction to stretch the spine and reduce the pressure from the disks and nerves of the spine. It also provides for better circulation of nutrients and other important items to the spine which can allow faster healing of the affected area.
In conclusion, spinal stenosis impacts many people in many ways, often asymptomatically. If you've been diagnosed with it, being aware of the aforementioned facts can benefit you immensely.