The Use Of Acupuncture As A Spinal Stenosis Treatment

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Your doctor may recommend conservative spinal stenosis treatment options as a first step to alleviate the associated symptoms. These options might include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, or even back or neck bracing. Some people believe that alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, can help relieve pain through amore natural, holistic approach, but the efficacy of such therapies is still debated amongst members of the medical community.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical therapy, which involves inserting hair-thin, stainless steel needles into strategic points along the body's meridians, or energy channels. It is believed that pain and illness affect the body when the meridians are blocked, hindering the natural flow of life energy known as qi (pronounced 'chee'). Exactly how acupuncture can provide pain relief is still unclear, but some medical professionals believe that the needles stimulate painful muscles, nerves, and tissues to trigger the release of endorphins, as well as increase the flow of blood.

Treating Spinal Stenosis

An acupuncturist may first determine a patient's eligibility for spinal stenosis treatment by documenting the patient's medical history and taking several pulse readings. If approved for treatment, the patient will be asked to lie face down on a
massage table and the acupuncturist will insert the needles in areas needing stimulation. Typically, the patient must lie still
for a period of time before the needles are removed. Several sessions may be necessary to provide the best results.

If Acupuncture Fails to Provide Relief

In most cases, your doctor won't recommend surgery as a spinal stenosis treatment option unless conservative and alternative methods have failed to provide sufficient pain relief. If you are considering open spine surgery, be sure to research all of your surgical options, discuss them with your doctor, and consider getting a second opinion.

In Conclusion

If you suspect that you have spinal stenosis, it is important that you first seek care from your family doctor. Your primary
care physician may not specialize in treating back and neck pain, but he or she can refer you to doctors who can provide you
with a variety of treatment options. If you would like to get another opinion on your condition and treatment options, there
are several specialists you can reach out to, such as an orthopedist, orthopedic surgeon, rheumatologist, neurologist,
neurosurgeon, chiropractor, and/or physical therapist.

Spinal stenosis is a potentially serious condition that should be monitored closely by a licensed physician. Before trying any
conservative or alternative treatments for this condition, especially medications, dietary changes, exercise, or stretching,
make sure to consult with your physician. Some exercises and stretching routines could actually worsen your condition, and
certain medications may interact with drugs you are already taking. Finally, while weight loss may help some people find
relief from their spinal stenosis symptoms, no weight loss plan should be attempted without first consulting with a doctor.
Anytime you experience a loss of urinary or bowel control or difficulty walking, this could be a sign of a life-threatening
condition called cauda equina syndrome. Go to the emergency room immediately.

About the Author:

Patrick Foote is the Director of eBusiness at Laser Spine Institute, the leader in endoscopic spine surgery. LSI specializes in safe and effective outpatient procedures for spinal stenosis and other spinal conditions. http://www.laserspineinstitute.com/back_problems/spinal_stenosis/

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