Non-Surgical Interventions for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Leading To Neurogenic Claudication: A Clinical Practice Guideline

André Bussières (Corresponding Author), Carolina Cancelliere, Carlo Ammendolia, Christine M. Comer, Fadi Al Zoubi, Claude Edouard Châtillon, Greg Chernish, James M. Cox, Jordan A. Gliedt, Danielle Haskett, Rikke Krüger Jensen, Andrée Anne Marchand, Christy Tomkins-Lane, Julie O'Shaughnessy, Steven Passmore, Michael J. Schneider, Peter Shipka, Gregory Stewart, Kent Stuber, Albert YeeJoseph Ornelas

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) causing neurogenic claudication (NC) is increasingly common with an aging population and can be associated with significant symptoms and functional limitations. We developed this guideline to present the evidence and provide clinical recommendations on nonsurgical management of patients with LSS causing NC. Using the GRADE approach, a multidisciplinary guidelines panel based recommendations on evidence from a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews published through June 2019, or expert consensus. The literature monitored up to October 2020. Clinical outcomes evaluated included pain, disability, quality of life, and walking capacity. The target audience for this guideline includes all clinicians, and the target patient population includes adults with LSS (congenital and/or acquired, lateral recess or central canal, with or without low back pain, with or without spondylolisthesis) causing NC. The guidelines panel developed 6 recommendations based on randomized controlled trials and 5 others based on professional consensus, summarized in 3 overarching recommendations: (Grade: statements are all conditional/weak recommendations) Recommendation 1. For patients with LSS causing NC, clinicians and patients may initially select multimodal care nonpharmacological therapies with education, advice and lifestyle changes, behavioral change techniques in conjunction with home exercise, manual therapy, and/or rehabilitation (moderate-quality evidence), traditional acupuncture on a trial basis (very low-quality evidence), and postoperative rehabilitation (supervised program of exercises and/or educational materials encouraging activity) with cognitive-behavioral therapy 12 weeks postsurgery (low-quality evidence). Recommendation 2. In patients LSS causing NC, clinicians and patients may consider a trial of serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants. (very low-quality evidence). Recommendation 3. For patients LSS causing NC, we recommend against the use of the following pharmacological therapies: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, methylcobalamin, calcitonin, paracetamol, opioids, muscle relaxants, pregabalin (consensus-based), gabapentin (very low-quality), and epidural steroidal injections (high-quality evidence). Perspective: This guideline, on the basis of a systematic review of the evidence on the nonsurgical management of lumbar spine stenosis, provides recommendations developed by a multidisciplinary expert panel. Safe and effective non-surgical management of lumbar spine stenosis should be on the basis of a plan of care tailored to the individual and the type of treatment involved, and multimodal care is recommended in most situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1039
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Pain
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • disease management
  • lumbar spine stenosis
  • neurogenic claudication
  • nonsurgical treatment, rehabilitation
  • Practice guideline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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