Pain relief medications can help manage pain-related symptoms. Common medications include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen help fight inflammation and block pain. Many are available over-the-counter, and stronger versions can be obtained with a doctor’s prescription
- Antidepressants like duloxetine and amitriptyline have also been shown to be effective against back pain. These medications can have other side effects and may not be safe for elderly patients, so be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about them.
- Cortisone injections. If you experience pain that radiates down your legs, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections. Cortical steroids are strong anti-inflammatory drugs that are injected near the space of your spine. They provide back pain relief for one to two months.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy is sometimes prescribed to help treat pinched nerves. Your physical therapist can help you learn exercises and movement patterns that relieve pressure on your nerves and strengthen surrounding muscles to prevent future pain. They can also teach you new movement patterns to avoid aggravating a nerve altogether.
- Chiropractic therapy. This therapy system helps treat and prevent disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system muscles, joints, bones, and connective tissues. It often involves gentle spinal manipulation to re-align the vertebrae and correct posture. While chiropractic therapy cannot cure spinal stenosis, it can help relieve symptoms in mild cases caused by structural misalignment. However, you should talk to your doctor first.
If you have lumbar spinal stenosis caused by thickened ligaments, you may be eligible for percutaneous image-guided lumbar decompression (PILD). This procedure involves using a thin needle, guided by an x-ray machine, to remove sections of thickened ligaments, reducing the pressure placed on nerves coming from the lumbar spine.
PILD has many advantages: it does not involve stitches or anesthesia and does not disrupt the rest of the spine.