What helps spinal stenosis besides surgery?

Posted by sakota9 (Joan) @sakota, Jul 17 12:57pm

I also suffer from bursitus in my hips so I go in for infections. The shots help both my hips and my back. Today, thought I would look for things on the internet and then discuss with my dr. I came across an article for a neuromd Its a device you wear on your back and helps with the pain. Its been FDA tested and approved. Has anyone checked this out. I don’t know if insurance covers it or not …… I am getting tired of the injections and those really are just a temporary solution. I’m 76 and don’t think I want to go thru surgery and my dr said that doesn’t really help. So if anyone has one of these things or know about them, would appreciate your input. Besides the back am also dealing with copd and lung cancer……..Life is like a box of cherries……I just keep getting the sour ones……… Hope you all are doing ok……andhave God, family and friends as your everyday support………..

I actually did try the NeuroMD and didn’t find it very helpful. I had several “technical” problems with it. Sold it online to someone but of course lost $$ on it.

I had surgery in 2011 which helped but then developed more stenosis problems at another level. Didn’t want another fusion which was offered to me. I am now 70.

I tried injections etc but it got worse to point I was limping and occ used a cane. I then tried a spinal cord stimulator trial which helped and so had a permanent one put in this January. It has definitely helped me and I am glad I did it. Not everyone seems helped by them. It was an “easy” surgery, went home within hours. The hardest part was all the movement restrictions afterwards for several months. I did it in winter so I could be outside in my yard and garden this summer. I live alone and it made me plan ahead and get creative, but I managed!

Always get at least two opinions! Why does your doctor say surgery won’t help?

REPLY

Hi @sakota, Joan, you'll notice that I modified the title of your discussion to help bring others into the conversation. Good idea to get input from other members who have stenosis like @fighter @michelles123 @lilypaws @wilcy @wisco50 @babette @msstoppainnagginme @jenniferhunter and others.

You may also be interested in this discussion:
– Severe Stenosis – Doc advises surgery https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/severe-stenosis-doc-advises-surgery/

REPLY

@sakota 9 Joan I don't believe your doctor telling you surgery does not help stenosis. I went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester and after a year they did a big fusion back surgery. Because I have degeneration that caused a scoliosis and stenosis in my L-4 and L-5 to S1 the surgeon had to go from T-10 to my pelvis. It was a 9 hour surgery. You have to have a lot of patience in the recovery. I'm 68 and you are older with other problems, so you may not be a candidate for surgery. I'm not a doctor so really can't tell if surgery would work for you or not, but since recovery I feel confident it will work, just have to be patient, because it takes time. Jeanie

Liked by wisco50

REPLY

@sakota If you have something that is compressed, surgery addresses that by un-compressing it, and for me, I did have spinal cord compression in my neck and surgery helped a lot. I don't have the other health issues that you do, and certainly that will factor into if surgery is a safe choice for you, or if you would be able to heal afterward. I don't know if you smoke, but smoking affects surgical outcomes because patients carry lower amounts of oxygen in their tissues if they smoke, and fusions can fail for this reason. There are some procedures that can go through the spaces in the foramen (spaces where nerves exit the spine), but if you have spinal cord compression in the central canal, the surgeon most likely has to remove the bad disc that is causing the compression and bone spurs which is what I had and that has to determined by your doctor. If you have any instability where one vertebra slips over another, physical therapy may be able to help by building core strength to hold the spine alignment in place. Sometimes it's a minor slip, but if affects the spine by essentially making the spinal canal smaller which can put more pressure on the spinal cord. It is like beads on a string that get out of alignment. I had muscle spasms that moved my neck out of alignment. Other things that my physical therapist did was to use a Dolphin Neurostimulator that blocks pain signals on the nerve roots. That worked about a week for me before I had spine surgery, and after surgery, I didn't need it. Spine surgery has a long recovery time. For me, it was about 3 months to be pain free and after that I had to rehab to get my strength back. With stenosis, it can advance slowly, but I was one where it advanced faster. Surgery was the only choice for me to stop the damage and prevent further problems. I hope this gives you some things to think about.

REPLY

I appreciate everyone's suggestions and help with stating what worked and didn't work. Since I am 76 and have these other issues, I just don't know what to do. I'm between a rock and a hard place……..do I pass on having something done with my back and just deal with the copd and lung cancer (will have radiation again in 5 months, third time for that) The shots help some but only for about 2-3 weeks and then its back to pain and if I keep on like this,,, I will be going to notre dame and join mr hunchback there…I'm sorry, I shouldn't complain……deal with what I have and move on………… Faith, love and hope to all of you.

REPLY
@sakota

I appreciate everyone's suggestions and help with stating what worked and didn't work. Since I am 76 and have these other issues, I just don't know what to do. I'm between a rock and a hard place……..do I pass on having something done with my back and just deal with the copd and lung cancer (will have radiation again in 5 months, third time for that) The shots help some but only for about 2-3 weeks and then its back to pain and if I keep on like this,,, I will be going to notre dame and join mr hunchback there…I'm sorry, I shouldn't complain……deal with what I have and move on………… Faith, love and hope to all of you.

Jump to this post

@sakota One big concern about possible spine surgery is that for fusions, bones need to be able to heal and fuse, and if any artificial device is implanted, it depends on bone quality to work. Implanted artificial discs and spine hardware are screwed into bone. Bone is a living tissue and is actively reabsorbed and replaced by cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts in a life long process. I was looking for literature that would relate the effects of radiation on bone quality, and I found this that may be of interest.
https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/abs/10.1148/59.5.744
Surely this is a question for your doctors, but what I'm reading is that radiation affects bone quality and health and that cancer radiation treatments can play a big part. Since you know that you have scheduled future radiation in 5 months, that could very much affect if spine surgery could be successful in your case, but your specialists will need to answer that question. It must be hard to be in this place not knowing what the best choices would be. The other thing that came to my mind was about the type of radiation you will be doing. At Mayo, they have a Proton Beam that is very targeted radiation. It might be worth checking to see if that would be a safer radiation treatment that would have less effect on your spine and bone health. Here is some information on the Proton Beam. This is new and not a lot of facilities have this technology at this time. I don't know if this would change the treatment options for spinal stenosis in your case, but you certainly can ask.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/proton-beam-therapy-program/home/orc-20185488

Liked by red3

REPLY

I'm embarrassed to admit that my spinal stenosis. Is probably not going to be more involved. I'm waiting to get into seeing a neck orthopedist. I had a neck spasm that took me into the ER screaming. Apparently there's a complication involving possibly spine neck muscles and various connective tissue. I want to thank all of you for putting your stories out. It gives me a better perspective for when I go the the physician with a more educated list of questions. Thanks

REPLY
@lolaemma

I'm embarrassed to admit that my spinal stenosis. Is probably not going to be more involved. I'm waiting to get into seeing a neck orthopedist. I had a neck spasm that took me into the ER screaming. Apparently there's a complication involving possibly spine neck muscles and various connective tissue. I want to thank all of you for putting your stories out. It gives me a better perspective for when I go the the physician with a more educated list of questions. Thanks

Jump to this post

@lolaemma Everyone is different in what their spine issues and symptoms are so don't think that yours are not valid. Some patients don't have pain, and their doctors have to convince them that they are at risk of paralysis and surgery is indicated. A physical therapist might be able to help with the neck spasms. They tend to keep happening (at least mine did) and my PT keep working to keep me stable before my spine surgery. The spasms resolved after surgery. My PT also did myofascial release and used a Dolphin neurostimulator on the nerve roots to block pain signals. We are here to help and you're welcome.

Liked by wisco50

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@lolaemma Everyone is different in what their spine issues and symptoms are so don't think that yours are not valid. Some patients don't have pain, and their doctors have to convince them that they are at risk of paralysis and surgery is indicated. A physical therapist might be able to help with the neck spasms. They tend to keep happening (at least mine did) and my PT keep working to keep me stable before my spine surgery. The spasms resolved after surgery. My PT also did myofascial release and used a Dolphin neurostimulator on the nerve roots to block pain signals. We are here to help and you're welcome.

Jump to this post

Thank you I'm trying to be patient while I'm waiting and to very careful when moving my neck.

Liked by Jennifer Hunter

REPLY

I have stenosis plus some arthritis in my neck, causing constant pain there and down my shoulder and arm. Tried injections, which only helped couple weeks. Went to PT and that helped some, along with gabapentin and Tylenol arthritis. Surgery as discussed involving a procedure that would numb? Lasor? The nerve being compressed. I just can not face that as he said there was a 30% or higher chance my vocal chords would be effected since they do it going in through the mouth. I am a singer, I am 65 but my soprano voice is still string and true. I have a major role in my choir plus do solos, duets, quartets and sing at weddings, even funerals. It is not an option to take the risk, so I put up with the pain. Gardening hurts because I have to bend my head down a lot, but I love gardening so I do it with frequent breaks. So any suggestions of relief would be greatly appreciated.

REPLY

@grandmaraines Laser spine treatments would not be able to remove spinal cord compression in the central canal. Major medical centers do standard surgical procedures for this. There can also be stenosis in the spaces where the nerve roots exit the spine. There are procedures that go through the front of the neck or the back (which I am told hurts more). It is the frontal approach that can affect the vocal chords. If you can come to Mayo for an opinion, I recommend it, not just because I am a Mayo spine surgery patient, but because they are good and have experience with these procedures for people with singing careers. Mayo also has procedures to place an implant that allows the vocal chords to meet again if one was paralyzed by the ACDF procedure. You should get more opinions and ask how your symptoms and quality of life can change if you never have surgery. Some people can be paralyzed and live in wheelchairs. I had great results with my ACDF at Mayo and did not have any voice issues. I understand your hesitation, I would feel that way too. I am an artist, and my spine problem was taking my talent ability away from me. This surgery restored my ability to do my artwork. There is a lot to think about and we are here to listen. You need a lot of information about what is possible to make this decision. Here is my story. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@grandmaraines Laser spine treatments would not be able to remove spinal cord compression in the central canal. Major medical centers do standard surgical procedures for this. There can also be stenosis in the spaces where the nerve roots exit the spine. There are procedures that go through the front of the neck or the back (which I am told hurts more). It is the frontal approach that can affect the vocal chords. If you can come to Mayo for an opinion, I recommend it, not just because I am a Mayo spine surgery patient, but because they are good and have experience with these procedures for people with singing careers. Mayo also has procedures to place an implant that allows the vocal chords to meet again if one was paralyzed by the ACDF procedure. You should get more opinions and ask how your symptoms and quality of life can change if you never have surgery. Some people can be paralyzed and live in wheelchairs. I had great results with my ACDF at Mayo and did not have any voice issues. I understand your hesitation, I would feel that way too. I am an artist, and my spine problem was taking my talent ability away from me. This surgery restored my ability to do my artwork. There is a lot to think about and we are here to listen. You need a lot of information about what is possible to make this decision. Here is my story. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

Jump to this post

Thank you for your thoughts and insights. I live in Maine and traveling that far, especially with Covid issues forcing 14 day quarantine etc is not really practical. I have much to think about and will certainly do my research and seek several opinions, including from my nephew who is a neurosurgeon. Surgery of any kind terrifies me.

Liked by Jennifer Hunter

REPLY
@grandmaraines

Thank you for your thoughts and insights. I live in Maine and traveling that far, especially with Covid issues forcing 14 day quarantine etc is not really practical. I have much to think about and will certainly do my research and seek several opinions, including from my nephew who is a neurosurgeon. Surgery of any kind terrifies me.

Jump to this post

@grandmaraines You're welcome. Perhaps a counselor could help you sort through the fear. I know how it is the deal with fear knowing that surgery is inevitable, but facing the fear of the unknown can be done. You can start by writing down why surgery scares you and what events in your past have brought you to these feelings of fear. That would be the beginning of understanding it. I also found music very helpful, and I was doing deep breathing and listening to music to say calm, so I had a routine I could fall back on in my mind any time I needed it. I was lowering my blood pressure significantly doing this because I took measurements before after my listening/breathing sessions. There are also a lot of good TED talks about facing fears. I watched a lot of those. Your nephew can probably help you find a good surgeon, and you will want one who only does spine surgeries. Patients have talked about Mass General in Boston as a good place and they are ranked as the #6 best hospital in the nation by US News and World Report.

REPLY
@jenniferhunter

@grandmaraines You're welcome. Perhaps a counselor could help you sort through the fear. I know how it is the deal with fear knowing that surgery is inevitable, but facing the fear of the unknown can be done. You can start by writing down why surgery scares you and what events in your past have brought you to these feelings of fear. That would be the beginning of understanding it. I also found music very helpful, and I was doing deep breathing and listening to music to say calm, so I had a routine I could fall back on in my mind any time I needed it. I was lowering my blood pressure significantly doing this because I took measurements before after my listening/breathing sessions. There are also a lot of good TED talks about facing fears. I watched a lot of those. Your nephew can probably help you find a good surgeon, and you will want one who only does spine surgeries. Patients have talked about Mass General in Boston as a good place and they are ranked as the #6 best hospital in the nation by US News and World Report.

Jump to this post

@grandmaraines I know surgery is scary. I don't know what kind of surgery you are having, but it sounds like a spine surgery. As you probably know I went through 9 hour fusion surgery for degeneration that had caused a scoliosis and also had stenosis in my L-4 & 5.
I went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. which I know is too far away for you. It was 3 1/2 hour drive for us. Forgot to tell you the surgeon had to go from T-10 to my pelvis.. Being you have a nephew being neurosurgeon hopefully can help you.. I saw a Professor of an orthopedic Spine surgeon that had 4 caulifications (SP) I use to be such a good speller but my computer underlined the last word. Well any well I think you would be safe to travel to Mass General in Boston. I'm sure they would have the same Covid policies as Mayo and the Hilton we stayed in was santized. We had no problem even eating in the restaurant. They all wore masks and every thing was clean and they had menus that they wiped off. I wasn't scared of the surgery, because I was in so much pain, but I feel bad that you are scared. Are you on any anti-anxiety medicines? Jennifer Hunter had good suggestions too. Take care and I will send my thoughts and prayers to take away your fears.

REPLY
@lilypaws

@grandmaraines I know surgery is scary. I don't know what kind of surgery you are having, but it sounds like a spine surgery. As you probably know I went through 9 hour fusion surgery for degeneration that had caused a scoliosis and also had stenosis in my L-4 & 5.
I went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. which I know is too far away for you. It was 3 1/2 hour drive for us. Forgot to tell you the surgeon had to go from T-10 to my pelvis.. Being you have a nephew being neurosurgeon hopefully can help you.. I saw a Professor of an orthopedic Spine surgeon that had 4 caulifications (SP) I use to be such a good speller but my computer underlined the last word. Well any well I think you would be safe to travel to Mass General in Boston. I'm sure they would have the same Covid policies as Mayo and the Hilton we stayed in was santized. We had no problem even eating in the restaurant. They all wore masks and every thing was clean and they had menus that they wiped off. I wasn't scared of the surgery, because I was in so much pain, but I feel bad that you are scared. Are you on any anti-anxiety medicines? Jennifer Hunter had good suggestions too. Take care and I will send my thoughts and prayers to take away your fears.

Jump to this post

Thank you for your positive encouragement. My fear is thought that I could have my singing voice effected, not the surgery itself. A big part of my life is centered around singing- I'd rather lose my sight I think then to lose that. I know there will come a day when I can not hit the high notes or hold them as long or worse, my voice starts to quiver. I have many years before that should happen. Losing it now is unthinkble.

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.