Researchers expect around 18 million people will develop spinal stenosis in the next 10 years, making it remarkably common. People over the age of 50 are vulnerable, largely because most cases of spinal stenosis stem from trauma or degenerative changes. In other words, time and wear-and-tear lead to changes that cause the painful condition.

The question you may have if you develop spinal stenosis is whether you can do anything to reverse the condition. The team of experts at Dr. Louis Keppler and Associates say that, although the condition can’t be reversed — we can’t turn back time — there are effective treatments and strategies that can allow you to regain your mobility without pain.

Spinal stenosis basics

Your spine is an amazing structure that allows you to bend, turn your head, twist around to see what’s behind you, and to stand. In addition to all that mobility, your spinal column houses and protects your spinal cord, which is like a superhighway for your nerves.

When you step on a sharp rock, it’s thanks to your nerves sending signals through your spinal cord, that your brain reacts and you know that your foot hurts. If you have spinal stenosis, though, your spinal column becomes narrower, and can press on the nerves in your spinal cord, causing pain signals — or weakness or numbness.

Your spine is divided into sections. The cervical spine is your neck, the thoracic spine is the middle of your back, and the lumbar spine is your lower back. The lumbar spine is the most common area for spinal stenosis to develop, though it also happens in the cervical spine frequently. Those are the most active parts of your spine, making them more prone to wear-and-tear.

Regaining mobility

Once your spinal canal has narrowed, what can you do? The main way to relieve your symptoms is to take the pressure off the nerves. Although that isn’t a cure, it may feel as if your condition has been reversed.

In some instances, your doctor may recommend medications to help reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications in the form of a pill, creams applied to your skin, or injections are all potential approaches. Lowering the inflammation can reduce swelling, and that could help reduce the pressure on your spinal cord. One of the most successful treatments for spinal stenosis is physical therapy. Through physical therapy, you can strengthen the muscles that support your spine, which can also help relieve the pressure on the nerves. You also gain endurance and improve the flexibility of your spine.

If those conservative treatments don’t resolve your symptoms, surgery may be a better solution. Surgical procedures to remove part of the bone in the affected part of your spine or to make the spinal canal larger may be the best way to ease the pressure.

Personalized treatment

The best treatment for you depends on many different factors, including your overall health, your age, how your spinal stenosis developed, which vertebrae are affected, among many others. All the providers at Dr. Louis Keppler and Associates suggest treatment based on your specific circumstances. Even though we can’t reverse spinal stenosis, we want you to regain your mobility and endurance.

If you have spinal stenosis and you aren’t sure what you should do, schedule an appointment, and get medical advice based on your unique situation.

 Dr. Keppler is a practicing surgeon and member of the following organizations:

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