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Meds/PT May Work As Well As Surgery for Spinal Stenosis

More conservative treatments work just as well after eight years of follow-up

TUESDAY, Jan. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Surgery and more conservative treatments provide similar long-term outcomes for people with spinal stenosis, according to research published in the Jan. 15 issue of Spine.

The study included 654 spinal stenosis patients who had surgery or received nonsurgical treatment such as physical therapy or medications. For the first several years, patients who had surgery had better outcomes.

However, after eight years of follow-up, there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of pain, functioning, or disability.

Both surgery and more conservative treatments were safe, according to the researchers. Of the patients who had surgery, 18 percent had repeat surgery for recurrent spinal stenosis within eight years, study leader Jon Lurie, M.D., and colleagues said in a journal news release. The study authors are from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

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