Spinal Stenosis is when the diameter of the spinal canal narrows abnormally due to bony (arthritis or spurs) or soft tissue (disc bulge or herniation) thickening. Spinal stenosis is mostly diagnosed in the lumbar spine and is less common in the cervical spine (but is more serious).
Since there is no extra room inside the spinal canal there is often compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots. This is especially true in the cervical spine.
While spinal decompression cannot reverse bony degeneration or bone spurs, it can reduce disc bulges and disc herniations. Spinal decompression therapy can also re-hydrate the discs, elongate the spine, increase the disc heights, and make the spine healthier overall…even with bony degeneration and spurs. Often times, this is enough to give relief to a patient with cervical or lumbar stenosis.
Can spinal decompression help a stenosis patient avoid surgery?
We have seen this happen…but it’s usually with soft tissue stenosis. The good news is that spinal disc decompression is very safe and gentle and we can test a patient without any adverse effects to see if it makes sense to move forward with the complete program which is 20-24 one-hour sessions.
We have helped thousands of patients with spinal decompression and many of those were difficult cases of spinal stenosis. It just depends on the individual circumstances.
In severe cases of bony stenosis the odds are not high of a favorable outcome and spinal decompression may not be indicated.
What we recommend, if you have been diagnosed with cervical or lumbar stenosis, is to get a second opinion from a decompression doctor.
If you live or work near San Francisco you can see us. We also have a team of doctors and physical therapists to assist with case management of spinal stenosis patients.