Foraminal Stenosis Symptoms

Foraminal stenosis symptoms are caused by the foraminal canal narrowing, compressing, and pinching the nerves that pass through the openings as they exit the spinal cord. For many people, foraminal stenosis does not produce symptoms. Furthermore, symptoms will not develop unless there is a pinched nerve root within the narrowing foraminal canal.

Where do Foraminal Stenosis Symptoms Manifest?

This nerve compression results in various problems which depend on the location of the pinched nerve root. For example, foraminal stenosis in the L5/S1 level (lumbar spine) can compress the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This can cause sciatica — an often intense, burning pain that travels to the buttock, leg, calf, and foot. Severe sciatica can cause difficulty walking or standing, significantly affecting your everyday life. However, a pinched nerve in the neck may cause pain and muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm, and hand. This can interfere with daily activities like driving, sleeping, and household chores.


The most common foraminal stenosis symptoms include:

  • Local pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • The feeling of pins and needles or extreme heat
  • Traveling pain along the nerve’s path

Rarely, spinal degeneration and its resulting nerve compression require emergency treatment. For example, a patient experiencing incontinence of the bladder or bowels, excessive pain, or extreme muscle weakness in the legs must go to the emergency room immediately. These symptoms could signify cauda equina syndrome, a potentially serious disorder requiring urgent medical attention.

Foraminal Stenosis Treatment

Often, patients can manage symptoms of foraminal stenosis with nonsurgical treatments prescribed by a family physician. Conservative treatments can include pain medication and low-impact exercises, among other options. A physician will only recommend surgery if patients have already tried conservative treatment methods.

At BEST Health System, we specialize in minimally invasive surgery, allowing patients to enjoy a shorter recovery time, all on an outpatient basis. Are you interested in learning more about surgery with BEST Health System? Contact our team today.