A new study shows that patients with spinal stenosis do not necessarily need surgery to reach their optimal recovery level. Physical therapy has been shown to be equally effective over the long-term, and without the associated surgical risks. Many patients still elect surgical decompression, however, sometimes due to increased pain, insufficient information about the benefits of physical therapy, and increase cost for physical therapy. The research is clear that physical therapy does produce the same results as surgery, and that patients who learn this may be better off going that route than risking surgery that could lead to complications. This is not to say that surgery is always unnecessary or harmful, but patients should be aware of all possible treatments before deciding to go into surgery, especially if they can resolve their symptoms in a less invasive manner.