Spinal stenosis affects an estimated 11-20% of older adults in the United States, making it one of the most common age-related conditions.
When you have spinal stenosis, the spaces in your spinal cord are too narrow. As a result, you may be prone to pinched nerves and compression issues that fuel numbness and pain.
Thankfully, numerous treatments can help alleviate these bothersome symptoms. A decompression procedure is one such option.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, offers assessments and customized treatment plans to help you lead a more comfortable life while managing spinal stenosis.
Here’s a closer look at decompression procedures and how they might relieve your spinal stenosis pain.
How decompression procedures work
Decompression procedures — some also known as decompression surgeries or therapy — actually reduce compression in your spine to reduce pain, numbness, and pinched nerve issues related to spinal stenosis.
The decompression procedures Dr. Kang provides at Houston Pain Specialists are minimally invasive. All he needs is a needle or other tools to remove or address problematic tissue.
Your procedure may involve Vertiflex™, an implanted device that creates more space around your pinched nerve. Once placed, it spreads the compressed vertebrae apart and keeps them in a normal position.
If you continue to experience pain, we may recommend a spinal cord stimulator. After a trial period to make sure it works well for you, we can place the pain-reducing device permanently.
Good candidates for a decompression procedure
If you’re bothered by spinal stenosis and haven’t gotten relief from other treatments, such as medication or physical therapy, you may be a good candidate for decompression therapy.
This treatment may also suit you well if you wish to avoid taking medication because of issues like side effects or interactions with another drug you take.
Depending on the severity of your condition, a pre-surgical evaluation for a surgical decompression may be necessary.
Decompression procedure results
While results vary, research shows that decompression procedures do more to alleviate spinal stenosis symptoms than less invasive treatments. Research has shown that Vertiflex effectively minimizes back pain for five years.
After your initial recovery time, which may take several days or close to a week, we may recommend physical therapy for improved strength and well-being moving forward.
Decompression therapy doesn’t do away with any existing arthritis that’s contributed to your symptoms, but it can help minimize pain and numbness. As a result, you may be less likely to experience complications, such as balance problems and spills that result in fractures.
To learn more about decompression procedures for spinal stenosis or to get the care you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.