When you go to the grocery store, the only way you can weather the outing is to lean forward against the shopping cart and walk gingerly. If standing up straight and walking have become intolerable due to moderate-to-severe lumbar spinal stenosis, we can help you walk and stand tall again with the innovative mild® procedure.
At Comprehensive Pain Management, our team, which is led by Dr. Boris Shwartzman and Dr. Do Chan, specializes in helping our patients to overcome chronic lower back pain.
One of the primary culprits behind this type of pain is lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), which affects more than 1 in 10 older adults in the United States. At our practice, we’ve had great success in helping patients to find relief through our mild procedure.
Here’s a look at how it works.
As we mentioned, lumbar spinal stenosis is a fairly common problem and usually stems from wear and tear on your lumbar spine. The degenerative changes that occur over time can narrow your spinal canal and compress sensitive nerve roots in the area. As a result, walking can become painful, as well as standing up straight.
While there’s little that we can do about the natural aging and degenerative processes in your body, we can address the effects they have when they cause pain.
A great example of this is the mild procedure, which stands for minimally invasive lumbar decompression.
With mild, we make a very small incision (about the size of an aspirin) through which we insert specialized tools and a camera. The camera and advanced imaging equipment allow us to locate the area where your nerves are compressed. Then we use the specialized instruments to remove ligament tissue to restore space in your spinal canal.
The reason we remove ligament tissue is that up to 85% of spinal canal narrowing is caused by a thickening in the interspinous ligament in your spine.
The mild procedure takes us only about an hour to perform, and you’re free to return home afterward.
We often recommend the mild procedure for people who have already tried conservative treatments to remedy their LSS symptoms, such as epidural steroid injections and physical therapy. If these early treatments fail to provide you with relief, the next step may be the mild procedure.
One of the many appeals of mild is that it represents an intermediate step between conservative treatments and spinal surgery.
While patient response varies from one to the next when it comes to the results of mild, we want to point to a study that followed the 5-year results of 75 patients who underwent the mild procedure between 2010 and 2015.
The study concluded that, “the mild procedure is durable over 5 years and may allow elderly patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis to avoid lumbar decompression surgery while providing significant symptomatic relief.”
If you’d like to explore whether the mild procedure is right for your lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms, please contact one of our offices — in Attleboro or Franklin, Massachusetts, or South Kingstown or Warwick, Rhode Island — to set up an appointment.