Skip to main content

Is Spinal Stenosis Reversible?

Is Spinal Stenosis Reversible?

If you’re one of the 250,000-500,000 Americans with a narrowing spinal canal — spinal stenosis — you know the pain and limitations it brings. Pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling often accompany spinal stenosis, and the symptoms travel from the narrowed place in your spine to the corresponding limbs. 

For example, if you have cervical spinal stenosis (in your neck), your symptoms may radiate down your arms and affect your hands and fingers, making it tough to lift, grip, and write. On the other hand, lumbar spinal stenosis (in your lower back) can affect your hips, legs, and feet, making your limbs feel heavy, weak, and crampy. 

Although there are treatments to help you manage these symptoms, the question we get most often at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute is: Is spinal stenosis reversible?

Dr. Dinash Yanamadula, our double-board certified and fellowship-trained interventional pain specialist, explains spinal stenosis and answers the question about reversibility. 

What does it mean to reverse spinal stenosis?

Before Dr. Yanamadula can answer the question of whether spinal stenosis is reversible, it’s critical to define reversibility.

Most people equate reversibility with a cure. Strictly speaking, spinal stenosis isn’t curable, so it isn’t reversible.

However, depending on what’s causing your spinal stenosis and how far it’s progressed, today’s treatments might reduce your symptoms to the point where it feels like your condition has resolved completely. The level of relief and remission you achieve depends largely on the underlying cause of your spinal stenosis. 

Irreversible spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis has several causes, and the root of your condition matters. Here are some spinal stenosis causes we can treat but can’t reverse.

If an incurable condition leads to spinal stenosis, you’ll likely deal with the problem for the rest of your life. However, we can keep you comfortable and slow the disease’s progression in many cases. 

“Reversible” spinal stenosis

Resolving the underlying cause can effectively reverse your symptoms if you develop spinal stenosis from a curable condition. Here are some examples of fixable problems:

Dr. Yanamadula offers a comprehensive lineup of treatments that address these conditions and eliminate the reason you have spinal stenosis.

For instance, over-the-counter or prescription-strength anti-inflammatories that resolve chronic inflammation can free up spinal space.

Princeton Pain & Spine Institute also offers highly effective physical therapy that targets spinal stenosis and retrains your muscles and ligaments to support age- and disease-related spinal degeneration. Dr. Christine Savela specializes in helping spinal stenosis patients regain strength and function. 

Surgically repairing herniated discs or removing bone spurs eliminates the culprit crowding your spine, relieves nerve compression, and stops spinal stenosis symptoms.

Dr. Yanamadula may also recommend minimally invasive laminectomy surgery to shave off a small portion of your vertebral bone to create more space. 

You might also be a good candidate for spinal fusion, a surgical procedure that permanently connects two or more vertebrae to prevent painful movement. 

Can spinal stenosis be reversed?

While we can’t technically cure spinal stenosis, we can treat it so successfully that you could consider the condition reversed. However, remember that age, genetics, activity levels, disease, injuries, and other factors continually affect your spine and may cause spinal stenosis to return even after successful treatments.


Request an appointment online or by phone at Princeton Pain & Spine Institute in Lawrenceville and Edgewater, New Jersey, to find out what it will take to reverse — or at least significantly improve — your spinal stenosis symptoms.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Are There Different Types of Headaches?

No one gets through life without at least one headache, and most experience several — but they aren’t all the same. In fact, there are more than 150 distinct types, making it tough to know how to treat them. Here’s how to differentiate them.
Understanding Your Treatment Options for Sciatica

Understanding Your Treatment Options for Sciatica

Sciatica — that shocking pain that travels from your lower back through your hips and down your leg — can stop you in your tracks. Here’s an overview of the most effective approaches to get you back in action. 

Treating Your Arthritis with Physical Therapy

You’ve always known about arthritis, but you never truly knew arthritis until it hit you. Now, you realize how little you know and are searching for treatments. Surprisingly, physical therapy is your best bet — here’s why.
How Can I Get Relief for My Tension Headaches?

How Can I Get Relief for My Tension Headaches?

Did you know there are more than 150 different types of headaches? The most common type is a tension headache, and if you’re prone to them, you need all the help you can get to overcome them. Here are our expert tips.
Is There Pain Relief for My Shingles?

Is There Pain Relief for My Shingles?

Shingles can affect everyone differently, but pain is a common symptom among all sufferers. For some, it’s mild and frustrating; for others, it’s excruciating and debilitating. Here’s how to manage shingles pain.