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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Lumbar spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back. Your spinal canal holds your spinal cord. The spinal cord controls your ability to move. When your spinal canal narrows, it may put pressure on your spinal cord.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have pain in your leg that does not go away or gets worse.
- You have trouble moving your legs.
- You cannot control when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have new or worsening symptoms.
- Your symptoms keep you from doing your daily activities.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
- Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Apply heat on your back for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Apply ice on your back for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
Go to physical and occupational therapy as directed:
A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.