What is the best treatment for spinal stenosis due to arthritis? Has anyone had surgery that has proven to be beneficial?
What treatment works best seems to vary with individual patients. In most cases, surgery is only considered when all other treatment options have failed. Treatments tried first include: posture and exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, and nerve blocks.
According to Dr. Charles Ray of Spine-health.com, "The key in choosing whether or not to have surgery is the degree of physical disability and disabling pain from lumbar spinal stenosis." The National Institute of Arhritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says that scientiests are still trying to find the answer as to which is more effective in treating spinal stenosis – surgery or other treatments.
Here are some articles about spinal stenosis treatment you might find helpful:
And here are some links from our site that you might also find useful:
How to Avoid Back and Neck Pain
Four Good Reasons to Have Spinal Surgery
7 Surprising Causes of Back Pain
I do not know if surgery is beneficial to 100% yet. I have heard of and met people who have indeed had such surgery. My neurosurgeon says it is a drastic surgery, sort of a last resort as it is a delicate complicated procedure. In this surgery the surgeon scrapes out the placque that is built up coating the inside of the spinal column and foramena (openings for nerves). Then tiny mesh cages, somewhat like cardiac stints are inserted in these places. Deteriorated disks are scraped out and replaced with cadaver bone or most often bone harvested from your own hip (which involves a second surgery at the same time). Once the disks are replaced, then the vertebrae involved are fused together. Lastly, the surgeon inserts "rods" vertically which are screwed to the vertebrae that were operated on to imobilize the entire area. You end up in a "back brace" for about 3-4 months while healing.
I am sure that the outcome or success varies from person to person. I am sure I will end up having this surgery myself somewhere down the line but for now we are trying to postpone it as long as possible.