A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug is often mixed with an opioid for relieving the pain of lumbar spinal stenosis, according to WebMD. The two drugs are used in combination because the opioid works well for pain relief, while the NSAID is useful in reducing inflammation.
Opiates work by reducing the number of pain signals the problem area sends to the brain, WebMD explains. Opiates work in a similar way as endorphins, a chemical the body produces naturally. Opiates are used if other pain-relieving measures are unsuccessful. A physician usually prescribes an opioid for a short time only in order to avoid possible side effects such as dependency.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the of the vertebrae, which puts pressure on nerve roots, causing pain ranging from slight to significant, reports WebMD, and an opiate often provides relief. Often the cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, which causes inflammation of the tissue around the vertebrae.