A Foraminal Stenosis Overview
Foraminal stenosis is a condition in the spine that describes the narrowing of a foraminal canal. This is the passageway on either side of the vertebra through which nerves travel to the spinal canal. Because the foraminal canals have a tightly packed bundle of nerve roots passing through them, the development of foraminal stenosis greatly increases the risk of developing a pinched nerve in that section of the spine.
Moreover, the most common way to tell if you’ve developed foraminal stenosis is by the presence of certain symptoms. By recognizing the symptoms, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor and begin discussing treatment options before your symptoms worsen.
Five Common Symptoms
The five most common symptoms to watch out for include:
- Radiating pain. The nerve roots in the foraminal canals carry sensory signals between the spine, brain, and extremities. If one of these nerves becomes pinched from foraminal stenosis, the pain can travel the length of the nerve pathway, extending into the head, arm, or leg, depending on the location of the pinched nerve.
- Numbness or tingling. If a nerve becomes pinched due to foraminal stenosis, it can be prevented from sending any signals to, for example, the arm or leg. This can develop numbness or a tingling sensation in the foot or hand.
- Burning sensation. Much like radiating pain, a pinched nerve can leave a trail of pain burning from the nerve to the affected extremity. Many patients describe this as a burning sensation.
- Muscle fatigue. If a pinched nerve from foraminal stenosis is blocked from sending sensory signals to the muscles in the arm or leg. This can cause the muscle can experience fatigue or delayed reflexes.
- Muscle spasms. Likewise, if the muscle is receiving intermittent nerve signals, the muscle can begin to twitch or spasm.
The Next Step
If you begin to experience these symptoms of foraminal stenosis, contact your doctor to begin a course of conservative treatment. Additionally, many patients respond to this type of treatment within the first several months. However, if you are still experiencing pain and symptoms after this time, you may need to consider surgery.
If you need surgery, contact BEST Health System today. We will help determine if you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery.