Lumbar canal stenosis: start with nonsurgical therapy

Cleve Clin J Med. 2002 Nov;69(11):909-17. doi: 10.3949/ccjm.69.11.909.


Although surgery is widely viewed as the definitive therapy for lumbar spinal stenosis, no randomized trials have compared surgical vs medical treatment. One study found that 60% of surgically treated patients improved, compared with 30% of those treated nonsurgically. We believe an initial nonsurgical approach is advisable for most patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Age Factors
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Calcitonin / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Injections, Epidural
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Spinal Stenosis / classification
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Stenosis / therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Calcitonin