An aching neck or lower back can be an agonizing condition. If the root cause is spinal stenosis, there are accessible non-surgical treatment options available to you. Dr. Patel and his team at The Patel Center for Functional Regeneration specialize in non-surgical spinal stenosis treatment in Los Angeles County.
It is important to understand the condition before considering the non-surgical treatment options available.
Spinal Stenosis Overview
Spinal stenosis is caused by space in the spine narrowing. As a result, pressure is put on the nerves that travel through the spine. There are three main areas of spinal stenosis: cervical stenosis in the neck, thoracic stenosis in the upper back, and lumbar stenosis in the lower back.
Spinal stenosis is most common in people aged 50 and over, but can occur in younger people as well. It’s usually a result of the degradation or degeneration of tissues in the spine over time. Spinal stenosis can be caused by osteoarthritis, disc bulging, loose ligaments, or a combination of all three.
Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis are neck pain, numbness in the limbs, and possible balance issues. Reduced grip strength in the hand is another potential symptom. Some individuals with cervical spinal stenosis experience reduced flexing ability of the arms or legs. Severe cervical spinal stenosis that causes progressively worsening symptoms in the legs can be a surgical emergency.
Symptoms of thoracic spinal stenosis are upper back pain, pain or tingling wrapping around the ribs, and possible balance problems. Severe thoracic spinal stenosis that causes progressively worsening symptoms in the legs can also be a surgical emergency.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are back pain, leg pain or cramping, and possible balance issues. Additionally, individuals may report numbness, weakness, or a reduced range of motion in their feet and legs. Bowel or bladder incontinence in the setting of stenosis may be due to a condition related to spinal stenosis called cauda equina which could be a surgical emergency as well.
This condition can impact an individual’s quality of life – not only due to the pain it causes, but also for its effect on a person’s mobility. Often individuals with spinal stenosis become less active to avoid unpleasant symptoms. Without treatment the condition often becomes worse along with their overall health due to the lack of mobility. The good news is that most cases of spinal stenosis do not require surgery and can be managed with conservative care.
Traditional Options for Spinal Stenosis Treatment
While surgery is one treatment option for spinal stenosis that sometimes is absolutely necessary, it is not always the best solution and usually can be avoided. Surgery often has risks of complications and it may not even be an option for some individuals with underlying health conditions.
Steroid (cortisone) injections are another traditional non-surgical treatment option for spinal stenosis. While steroid injections provide relief from this condition, this relief is often short-term and they commonly have significant side effects. There is research that suggests that epidural steroid injections for spinal stenosis may have the same long term results as just injecting numbing lidocaine solution. Since recent research has suggested that steroid injections can contribute to decreased healing and even tissue breakdown, the short-term benefit is often not worth the risk.
The common denominator with these traditional treatment options is that they treat symptoms and do not address the root cause of spinal stenosis.
Innovative Non-Surgical Treatments for Spinal Stenosis in Los Angeles, CA
Fortunately, Dr. Patel specializes in highly specialized techniques for treating the spine using regenerative medicine. These treatment plans offer effective non-surgical options to treat spinal stenosis and it’s root causes. Modern injection therapies are emerging to provide both short-term relief and long-term healing. Orthopedic physicians, like Dr. Patel of the Patel Center for Functional Regeneration, are at the forefront of providing these therapies.
Dr. Patel specializes in non-surgical spinal stenosis treatment in Los Angeles. He offers the latest treatments for stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. PRP is an injection therapy where powerful platelet-rich plasma is extracted from a patient’s blood. Dr. Patel creates different types of PRP based on the different areas he is addressing, and these solutions are then injected directly into all of the affected sites. By doing this, Dr. Patel addresses all components of the “Functional Spinal Unit.” He uses state-of-the-art fluoroscopic x-ray and ultrasound guided technology to ensure precise delivery. This platelet-rich plasma then goes to work causing healthy tissue to work properly.
Another effective non-surgical treatment alternative involves bone marrow stem cell injections. For this treatment, stem cells are extracted from the patient and delivered to the affected area via minimally invasive injections. Stem cells are effective because they refresh and help boost local cells that may not be working properly. Stem cells are reparative resources that exist in the body. When used to treat a spinal stenosis, stem cells can help injured discs and helps slow down the joint breakdown that causes this condition. Dr. Patel often uses stem cells in combination with different PRP solutions in order to provide the most comprehensive care.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, physical therapy is also worth noting as a crucial part of the holistic non-surgical treatment that Dr. Patel uses for patients with spinal stenosis. Combining physical therapy with PRP +/- stem cells in your treatment plan enhances their impact and healing power.