Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Physical Therapy vs. Surgical Interventions

September 3, 2015

lumbar spinal stenosis, physical therapy interventions, surgery

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a spinal diagnosis found in older adults and involves a narrowing of the canals in which the nerves exit the spine.  It can be found in either the central canal of the spine or in the foramen where nerves exit on each side of the spine.  Often these patients reports symptoms of back and leg pain, pins and needles, numbness, or leg weakness.  Lumbar spinal stenosis is the leading cause of lumbar surgery in the U.S. but non surgical Physical Therapy interventions including manual therapy, exercise and body weight supported treadmill have been shown to have a positive impact on pain and disability in this population (Whitman et al. 2006). 

A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (2015) by Delitto et al. compared the impact of surgery to non surgical treatments for patients with lumbar stenosis.  169 patients were randomly assigned to either a surgical or Physical Therapy group and were followed for 2 years.  Authors reported surgical decompression had similar effects to a Physical Therapy treatment program for patients with lumbar stenosis.  Try a manual physical therapy approach to reduce your pain, improve your function, and avoid the unnecessary cost and risks of spine surgery. 

Lumbar stenosis, surgery, physical therapy interventions