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What should patients with spinal stenosis do to remain comfortable?

A:

Quick Answer

The most common non-surgical treatments include exercise, activity modification and epidural injections, according to Spine-heath. Patients with spinal stenosis can also remain comfortable by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, anti-seizure drugs and antidepressants.

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Full Answer

Since it not only relieves temporal symptoms but prevents further debilitation often caused by inactivity, exercise is especially important. Symptoms may be alleviated by flexing forward, and utilizing a walker or sitting in a recliner provides greater comfort than walking upright or sitting in a straight-back chair, states Spine-health.

Activity modifications include sitting in a recliner instead of a straight-back chair and leaning forward with the use of a walker as opposed to standing upright.

Epidural steroid injections, though seldom curative, provide significant relief in about 50 percent of patients, according to Spine-health medical experts. These injections involve injecting cortisone into the epidural space of the lumbar region; patients can receive up to three injections over the course of several months.

NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen do not require a prescription and may reduce inflammation; muscle relaxants such as Flexeril can alleviate the muscle spasms that may accompany spinal stenosis. Anti-seizure drugs such as gabapentin may reduce pain from damaged nerves, while tricyclic antidepressants can help ease chronic pain, according to Mayo Clinic.

In cases where conservative treatments have not proven to be effective or symptoms cause disability, surgery may be required.

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