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Treatments Show Benefits in Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Last Updated: May 18, 2009.

Physical therapy and epidural steroid injections both appear to be useful treatments for individuals with lumbar spinal stenosis, according to research published in the May 1 issue of Spine.

MONDAY, May 18 (HealthDay News) -- Physical therapy and epidural steroid injections both appear to be useful treatments for individuals with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the May 1 issue of Spine.

Zarife Koc, M.D., of the Uludag University School of Medicine in Bursa, Turkey, and colleagues analyzed data from 29 patients with LSS who were randomly assigned to receive two weeks of either inpatient physical therapy, including ultrasound, hot packs, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation; lumbar epidural steroid injections; or no treatment as controls.

The researchers found that both treatment groups showed significant improvements in pain and functional measurements, with no significant difference between the groups. Both treatments were found to be effective at up to six months of follow-up. In addition, the control group also showed significant improvements on several measurements at six months, the authors note.

"Although more favorable outcome has been reported for surgical treatment in some studies, initial conservative treatment is generally recommended for patients with LSS, especially with mild to moderate symptoms," the authors write. "Despite equivocal evidence about their efficacy, epidural steroid injections are currently being suggested as a reasonable treatment option in LSS patients. In fact, 23 percent of all epidural steroid injections are performed for the treatment of LSS."

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