My elderly mother has severe back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. She has tried everything to treat it: drugs, exercise, a brace, and even acupuncture. She's had no relief from her pain. Is there anything else she can try?

Surgery may be the next step. A laminectomy can be done when a patient has tried other methods of treatment and still has painful symptoms. In this operation a portion of the bone surrounding the spinal cord or spinal nerve is removed. This takes pressure off the nerve tissue.

Your mother may be a good candidate for this treatment. Laminectomy has been shown to be safe and effective even in adults 80 years and older. The best results occur in the "well-elderly." This refers to older adults who don't have significant other health concerns.