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Choosing between physical therapy or surgery can be difficult. Generally speaking, surgery is more expensive and risky but has a higher chance of success. Physical therapy is less invasive and less costly, but it might take longer for you to recover.

In the following article, we’ll outline the differences between physical therapy and surgery so you can make an informed decision about which treatment best suits your particular needs.



Surgery is typically considered when the symptoms of spinal stenosis have become intolerable. Surgery to decompress the spine is considered a last resort because while it can eliminate pain, damage to the nerves exiting the spine can cause paralysis and incontinence. Surgery is also considered only for patients with a very high degree of stenosis.


Physical Therapy

However, physical therapy will help you regain the use of your extremities after surgery. As you get better, you should still be able to walk without any assistance. Unfortunately, the affected nerve can heal the wrong way so that it does not work properly.


Importance Of Physical Therapy Over Surgery

Although people may perceive surgery as the only option for relief from spinal stenosis, physical therapy is just as, if not more effective, than surgery. Research has shown that many people who undergo surgery do not experience relief from their symptoms. Here are some of the importance of physical therapy over surgery.


1. Less Invasive and Less Costly

Physical therapy will not damage your spine and is a cost-effective treatment option. Physical therapy will not usually require you to take any medications, and your medical insurance may cover it. It will involve many more medications and supplies if you choose to have surgery.


2. Preserves Nerve Function

Physical therapy can help preserve the nerve function that has not been destroyed during spinal stenosis. However, the affected nerve can heal the wrong way so that it does not work properly. This could result in chronic back pain if you receive surgery.


3. Improves posture

Physical therapy helps to improve your posture and maintain healthy core muscles, which are vital for spinal function. Through physical therapy, you will strengthen muscles and build endurance, enabling you to regain your independence.


4. Strengthens The Right Muscles

The right muscles need to be strengthened to enable you to move on your own once you’re able to stand and walk again. Physical therapy will help you gain independence in so many ways.


Physical therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals suffering from spinal stenosis. Health centres that offer physical therapy might be able to help you find a physical therapist specializing in spine care. Continued health care is necessary to bounce back from surgery and injury. By following your doctor’s and physical therapy recommendations, you can continue to heal and improve your overall health.