My 72-year old mother has lumbar spinal stenosis. She's really not up for any kind of surgery. Is there any other way to treat this problem? She's in an awful lot of pain most days.
Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common problem in older adults. LSS is a narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the openings in the vertebral bones where the spinal nerves exit the spinal canal. It can be a very disabling condition. It's the most common reason older adults have back surgery.

Studies show that the number of spinal fusion surgeries for this problem has grown steadily in the last two decades. Most patients are advised to try conservative care before having surgery. This could include medications, physical therapy (PT), and/or bracing.

Only a small number of patients actually pursue and complete a course of conservative care. From the research done so far, it looks like patients can get better without surgery. Pain levels can be reduced and function improved with overall increased patient satisfaction.

If your mother has not been treated by a physical therapist, this may be your next step. PTs are trying to find the best treatment for LSS. Results of studies so far show that flexion exercises and manual therapy do make a difference.