Is there a solution that saves money and ensures functional progress in the world of debilitating low back pain? A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reveals that physical therapy is that solution for lumbar spinal stenosis, a form of low back pain affecting some 400,000 Americans.
Lumbar spinal stenosis often occurs at the hands of age: as we get older, the spine goes through
changes that can lead to a degeneration of the vertebrae, discs, muscles and ligaments that comprise
the spinal column. As this happens, some patients will be handed a diagnosis of lumbar spinal
stenosis and may note pain, numbness and weakness in the low back and legs. Confusingly,
symptoms may worsen when walking and engaging in other low-impact activities but ease a bit
when sitting and otherwise at rest.
What to do next? A rehab professional will conduct a thorough evaluation, relying on screening tools
and a detailed overview of the patient’s medical history, to ensure an accurate diagnosis. This is
particularly important because spinal stenosis presents the same as other age-related conditions.
During your first appointment, a physical therapist will likely ask you to:
- Identify the location and nature of your weakness, pain, numbness and other symptoms
- Participate in muscle strength tests to understand the level of pressure on your nerves
- Walk and perform other activities so the PT may observe posture and function
- Have your spine and leg range of motion measured
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that roughly 11% of Americans, mostly those over age 50, have the condition. Many are confronted with the difficult decision of whether or not surgery is the answer to their pain and difficulty ambulating. In the case of spinal
stenosis, the most common procedure is decompression surgery or lumbar laminectomy which relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves by removing the lamina. This surgery is performed with or without spinal fusion.
Alongside other recent research, the study published in Annals found that conservative care such as physical therapy can achieve just as good as or better results than surgery. Participants in both study groups (surgery and physical therapy) saw benefits beginning 10 weeks after surgery or the start of a physical therapy program. The patients’ low back pain continued to decline and physical function continued to improve during the four months following initial treatment. Two years after the study’s start, the two groups reported no difference in pain or
In addition to preventing invasive and sometimes life-threatening surgeries, physical therapy can often avoid the need for medications and expensive imaging. Patients are urged to speak with their physicians about seeing a physical therapist first. Be sure to find a physical therapist in your area who is trained to treat spinal stenosis or low back pain.
New Jersey locations:
Bloomfield NJ Physical Therapy 44 Park Street Bloomfield , NJ 07003 Phone: 9736852335 Email us
Clifton NJ Physical Therapy - 1070 Clifton Ave 1070 Clifton Ave #1A Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 973-246-6565 Email us
Clifton NJ Physical Therapy - 1700 Rte 3 West 1700 Rte 3 West #Grnd Clifton , NJ 07013 Phone: 862-591-1000 Email us
Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy - Holsman Physical and Occupational Therapy 15-01 Broadway Ste 12 Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-355-5199 Email us
Kearny NJ Physical Therapy 711 Kearny Ave Kearny , NJ 07032 Phone: 201-535-8555 Email us
Rahway NJ Physical Therapy 1600 Saint Georges Ave #107 Rahway , NJ 07065 Phone: 732-428-5566 Email us
Cedar Grove NJ Physical Therapy 408 Pompton Ave Cedar Grove , NJ 07009 Phone: 973-433-0732 Email us
Caldwell NJ Physical Therapy 378 Bloomfield Ave Caldwell , NJ 07006 Phone: 973-968-6002 Email us
Fair Lawn NJ Physical Therapy - Holsman Children's Therapy Center 15-01 Broadway Ste 14C Fair Lawn , NJ 07410 Phone: 201-351-1682 Email us
Newark NJ Physical Therapy 1060 Broad St #Bsmt Newark , NJ 07102 Phone: 973-457-4232 Email us
Jersey City NJ Physical Therapy 361 Montgomery St Jersey City , NJ 07302 Phone: 201-932-2656 Email us
Paterson NJ Physical Therapy 764 Main St. Suite 401 Paterson, NJ 07503 Phone: 973-705-7255 Email us
New York Locations:
Bronx NY Physical Therapy - 817 E 180th St 817 E 180th St Bronx , NY 10460 Phone: 718-355-9652 Email us
Bronx NY Morris Park Physical Therapy - 799 Morris Park Ave 799 Morris Park Ave Bronx , NY 10462 Phone: 718-684-6300 Email us
Brooklyn NY Physical Therapy 423 Lincoln Pl Brooklyn , NY 11238-5499 Phone: 347-708-9701 Email us
Brooklyn NY Liberty Ave 1084 Liberty Ave Brooklyn, NY 11208 Phone: 347-586-0625 Email us