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Non-surgical Treatments for Spinal Stenosis

In the absence of severe or progressive nerve involvement, a doctor may prescribe one or more of the following conservative treatments for spinal stenosis:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, naproxen (Naprosyn), ibuprofen (Motrin, Nuprin, Advil), or indomethacin (Indocin), to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), to relieve pain.

Corticosteroid injections into the outermost of the membranes covering the spinal cord and nerve roots to reduce inflammation and treat acute pain that radiates to the hips or down a leg.

Anesthetic injections, known as nerve blocks, near the affected nerve to temporarily relieve pain.

Restricted activity (varies depending on extent of nerve involvement).

Prescribed exercises and/or physical therapy to maintain motion of the spine, strengthen abdominal and back muscles, and build endurance, all of which help stabilize the spine. Some patients may be encouraged to try slowly progressive aerobic activity such as swimming or using exercise bicycles.

A lumbar brace or corset to provide some support and help the patient regain mobility. This approach is sometimes used for patients with weak abdominal muscles or older patients with degeneration at several levels of the spine.

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