Foraminal Narrowing – Risk Factors and Treatment Options

What is Foraminal Narrowing?

Foraminal narrowing, also called foraminal stenosis, occurs when the foraminal canal becomes obstructed or blocked by a damaged component of the spine. The foraminal canal is the passageway that allows nerves to exit the spine, and any obstruction in the canal could result in a pinched nerve. The most common causes of foraminal narrowing are a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spur, and other degenerative spine conditions.

Foraminal narrowing symptoms range from local pain and discomfort to debilitating pain radiating nearby extremities. A doctor or specialist should check any symptoms of this nature to determine the source of the pain. Certain lifestyle risks may increase the chance of development since foraminal narrowing is a common result of a degenerative spine. 

Risk Factors

One of the primary causes of foraminal narrowing is the natural aging process. While aging is unavoidable, a few risk factors can expedite the development. These factors include:

  • Excess weight gain
  • Smoking or abusing alcohol
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Occupations that require constant sitting, standing, driving, bending, lifting, and twisting
  • Regular participation in high-impact sports like football or hockey

While avoiding these risk factors does not guarantee that you will avoid developing this condition, it could help postpone the onset.

Foraminal Narrowing Treatment Options

Several treatment options are available if you have developed foraminal narrowing despite your best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent its onset. Many patients can find relief through conservative means, such as pain medications, physical therapy, hot and cold compresses, corticosteroid injections, and chiropractic care.

If discomfort persists despite several weeks or months of these therapies, the minimally invasive procedures performed at BEST Health System may provide relief. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery can relieve pressure on the trapped nerve by removing a small portion of the damaged disc or bone spur obstructing the foraminal canal.

This will provide more room in the canal for nerves to travel without impacting the spine’s stability. However, replacement might become an option if the entire disc or vertebra is damaged and cannot support the spine.

Our foraminal narrowing procedures offer patients a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.  Due to our minimally invasive approach, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complications. Contact BEST Health System today to learn more.