July 18, 2017 /
If you’ve struggled with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), you know it can impact your life. People with severe LSS often can’t stand longer than a few minutes or walk more than a few hundred feet without feeling severe pain.
Bulging disk and/or enlargement of the ligaments in your spine can cause LSS. When the spinal canal narrows, it causes nerve compression. When someone with LSS stands or walks, the spinal canal narrows even more, causing low back and leg pain that is relieved with sitting or bending forward.
Until a few years ago, the only treatment options available were either of two extremes: conservative therapies or open spine surgery.
Weighing treatment options for LSS
However, conservative treatments, such as NSAIDS, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections, only work for a fraction of people. Also, when they do work, the effect is often not sustained and requires repeated treatments.
Open spine surgery, on the other hand, works to relieve pressure on spinal nerves, but surgery and anesthesia may carry increased risk in older patients.
Now, there’s a new outpatient option called mild®, which stands for minimally invasive lumbar decompression. It is only an option for patients who have significant LSS due to thickening of the ligamentum flavum, or ligaments of the spine.