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MILD®: Your Surgery-Free Solution for Spinal Stenosis

MILD®: Your Surgery-Free Solution for Spinal Stenosis

As many as a half million Americans suffer from symptoms of spinal stenosis, a degenerative spine condition that causes chronic pain and other symptoms that can interfere with your regular routine. 

While conservavtie treatment options can help many people find relief, others need additional treatment to keep their pain at bay.

Our team at Pacific Sports and Spine helps patients in Roseburg and Eugene, Oregon, relieve painful symptoms of spinal stenosis with custom treatment plans tailored to their needs. 

Often, those treatment plans include minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD®). Here’s how it could help you.

Spinal stenosis: An overview

Stenosis literally means “narrowing.” In spinal stenosis, the space inside the spinal canal narrows, crowding the nerves that travel through the canal from your brain to the rest of your body. 

When your nerves are crowded or compressed, you can wind up with chronic back pain, along with symptoms in other areas of your body, like your arms or legs. Even your bowel or bladder can be affected.

Spinal stenosis tends to happen more often as you get older, a result of wear-and-tear and age-related changes in the spine. Thickened ligaments and arthritis are common causes of stenosis, and some people develop bone spurs — little bony overgrowths along the inside edge of the spine bones (vertebrae).

Spinal stenosis can affect any part of your spine, but it’s especially common in the lower back or lumbar spine. 

In addition to a nagging lower backache, lumbar spinal stenosis can cause pain, burning, numbness, or weakness in your buttocks, legs, or feet. Symptoms tend to be worse when standing or walking.

Spinal stenosis treatment typically begins conservatively, with options like:

When these approaches don’t work, our team may recommend MILD.

How MILD works

MILD helps relieve pressure on the nerves inside the spinal canal by removing some of the thickened ligament, bone, and fatty material causing nerve compression. 

Unlike a more invasive laminectomy surgery, which involves a larger incision and more tissue damage, MILD uses a minimally invasive approach and a special portal device to access the area of compression.

We perform MILD on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic and sedation to keep you relaxed and comfortable. Diagnostic imaging confirms the location of compression. Then we make a tiny incision through which we insert the portal. A special X-ray called fluoroscopy provides real-time images that help us guide placement of the portal.

Once the portal is in place, we insert special surgical instruments to remove a very small part of the spine bone, along with a part of the thickened ligament. Then we remove the instruments and portal and close the incision.

Data show that MILD treatment is just as safe as steroid injections, but with better results than injections. MILD helps many of our patients avoid more invasive spinal surgery.

Learn more about spinal stenosis treatment

Unless the nerve compression inside your spine is addressed, you’ll almost certainly continue to have back pain and other spinal stenosis symptoms. To learn more about MILD and other stenosis treatments we offer, book an appointment with us at Pacific Sports and Spine today.

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