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May 19, 2023

An 88-year-old man is preparing for his third decompression surgery for spinal stenosis. His friend wonders if massage therapy might be helpful, or even replace this risky procedure. Join us for a closer look at spinal stenosis and the risks and benefits of this common surgery!




Books of Discovery:  


Host Bio:        


Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at   



Recent Articles by Ruth:       


“Working with Invisible Pain,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, November/December 2022, page 36,


“Unpacking the Long Haul,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, January/February 2022, page 35,

“Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Massage Therapy,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, September/October 2021, page 33,


“Pharmacology Basics for Massage Therapists,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, July/August 2021, page 32,    




Pocket Pathology:


The Back Jam


Alhaug, O.K. et al. (2021) ‘Criteria for failure and worsening after surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis: a prospective national spine registry observational study’, The Spine Journal, 21(9), pp. 1489–1496. Available at:


Anderson, D.B. et al. (2019) ‘SUcceSS, SUrgery for Spinal Stenosis: protocol of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial’, BMJ Open, 9(2), p. e024944. Available at:


Beatty, R.M. (1987) ‘Persistent nerve root compression by buckling of the longitudinal ligament after chemonucleolysis’, Neurosurgery, 20(2), pp. 332–334. Available at:


Complications of Spine Surgery (no date). Available at:


Ep 34 – Spinal Fusion—“I Have a Client Who …” Pathology Conversations with Ruth Werner (2020) Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. Available at:


Katz, J.N. et al. (2022) ‘Diagnosis and Management of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Review’, JAMA, 327(17), pp. 1688–1699. Available at:


Laminectomy Surgery for Back Pain: Treatment, Risks, Recovery (no date) Cleveland Clinic. Available at:


Massage & Bodywork - MARCH | APRIL 2021 (no date). Available at:


Surgery for spinal stenosis linked to lower mortality and costs (no date). Available at:


What is the latest treatment for spinal stenosis? (2022). Available at: