This study followed patients diagnosed with lumbar stenosis. Surgery was performed on 440 of these patients, and 57 were treated with conservative, but unspecified, care. Both groups were re-examined 4 years after the start of treatment.
The study found that when the patients were matched for sex, age, objective findings, and symptoms, there was no significant difference in outcome between the two groups. The study did find that operated men fared better than non-operated men, but concluded, "conservative treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis should be considered for the patients with moderate stenosis.
Herno A, Airaksinen O, Saari T, Luukkonen M. Lumbar spinal stenosis: a matched-pair study of operated and non-operated patients. British Journal of Neurosurgery 1996;10(5):461-465.