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Spinal Stenosis Treatment

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine, which results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. Spinal stenosis often occurs in the spine in the neck (cervical spine) or the lower back (lumbar spine).

What are common symptoms of spinal stenosis?

When stenosis occurs in the lumbar spine (lumbar spinal stenosis), the pressure on the nerve roots can cause tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in the legs. When stenosis occurs in the cervical spine, patients often experience tingling, numbness, or pain in the shoulders and arms.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

Spinal stenosis is typically diagnosed through a combination of methods, including:

  • Medical history, which may include past injuries or illnesses;
  • Physical examination to determine the extent of limitation of movement, pain or symptoms, and neurologic function (sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes) in the arms and legs;
  • Imaging, including x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), myelogram, and bone scans.

What are spinal stenosis treatment options?

Spinal stenosis treatment often varies, depending on the severity of the condition and the patient’s limitations. Common spinal stenosis treatments include:

  • Exercise regimen;
  • Activity modification;
  • Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen;
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation;
  • Spinal injections, such as corticosteroid injections;
  • Chiropractic treatment;
  • Spine surgery, including laminectomy.

Ideally, spinal stenosis treatment should be determined by specialists who are dedicated to helping patients with spinal conditions and are able to offer a wide range of therapies so that a plan can be tailored to the individual patient.

Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center

The Brigham and Women’s Comprehensive Spine Center offers multidisciplinary treatment for patients experiencing spinal conditions due to back pain, disease, or injury. Patients are referred to the appropriate clinical service for initial evaluation using advanced diagnostic procedures and imaging. Neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons in the Center work with specialists in pain management and physical medicine to development personalized treatment plans. The collaborative focus of the Center allows patients to seamlessly transition between clinical services as dictated by their diagnosis and progress.

Patient- and Family-centered Care

BWH has long been committed to not only the care of our patients seeking spinal stenosis treatment but also the many other needs that they and their families have. This philosophy of patient- and family-centered care involves systems and services that emphasize healing in a comfortable, relaxed environment.

Quality of Patient Care

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is committed to providing all of our patients with the safest, highest-quality, most-satisfying care possible and follow established protocols that have been shown to improve patient outcomes. Our inpatient satisfaction survey, sent to patients’ to assess their total care experience, helps us to monitor what we are doing well and areas for improvement. We pride ourselves in the quality of patient care we provide and how we are measured compared with other hospitals.

Contact Us

If you believe you should have an evaluation and would like to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call 1-800-294-9999 to speak to one of our knowledgeable coordinators who can help to connect you to the doctor that best meets your needs, or fill out an online appointment request.


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