An option to surgical treatment for spinal stenosis is promoted by some physicians who treat disorders of the spine.
Surgical treatment of any condition does not have 100% satisfactory results, as everyone knows.
Treatment of spinal stenosis with a combination of epidural injections and therapeutic exercise has been available for some time. In my experience, the popularity of this method of management has increased and decreased at different times over the years.
Patients who do seem to respond to this method of treatment are all treated with a physical therapy therapeutic exercise program which they do on a very regular ongoing basis and a maximum of three epidural steroid injections. A small percentage of patients, perhaps 5%, also include chiropractic care as a form of ongoing treatment in addition to the therapeutic exercises that physical therapy had taught.
This condition is very different from cauda equina syndrome (CES). An article describing cauda equina syndrome is available in the Online Orthopaedics library of articles. Spinal stenosis progresses very slowly and has been observed in studies over a long period of time that not all patients continue to progressively get worse.
Most of us involved in the spinal surgery field currently use aggressive, non-operative treatment as the standard of care in our practices for spinal stenosis.
For those patients who do not improve with observational treatment alone, physical therapy or a combination of physical therapy, exercises and epidural steroid injections, decompression spinal surgery is recommended and usually chosen by the patient.