Surgery vs Non-Surgical Treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

A January 2016 review by Cochrane looked at the “evidence that compares surgery versus non-surgical treatment” for lumbar spinal stenosis. Conclusions drawn from this comparison reveal non-surgical treatments are inadequately described (charted and entered into large data banks for comparative outcomes). However, it can be reported that a “high” rate of side effects accompany surgical interventions (10%-24%), while zero side effects are reported with conservative treatments. While there is little confidence to conclude surgery is a better option, healthcare providers can provide information on side effect outcome. The study author’s concluded “High quality research is needed to compare surgical vs conservative care for spinal lumbar stenosis. This may include better charting, better intake questionnaires, with pre and post treatment exams.”