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Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2003 Feb;14(1):77-101, vi-vii.

Nonsurgical management of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis: a literature review and a case series of three patients managed with physical therapy.

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Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Center, 2200 Bergquist Drive, Suite 1, Lackland Air Force Base, TX 78236-5300, USA.


This article critically reviews the available literature regarding nonsurgical management for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) and presents a case series of three patients managed with manual physical therapy. This case series uses a well-defined, impairment-based, noninvasive, outpatient treatment program for patients with LSS and provides patient-centered, long-term outcome information. The outpatient treatment program focuses on patients' individualized, prioritized impairments identified on initial examination, and emphasizes manual physical therapy techniques targeting each patient's impairments, specific exercises to either reinforce the manual physical therapy treatment or strengthen specific muscles, and a walking program. The results demonstrate that patients with LSS can make significant gains in disability, symptoms, and function in relatively short periods of time and that these gains can be maintained for up to 18 months. Under this physical therapy program, patients experienced significant improvements, and the potential adverse effects of invasive therapies or pharmacologic management strategies, which often are included in other "nonsurgical" treatment programs, were avoided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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