Four Ways Foraminal Stenosis is Similar to Spinal Stenosis

Foraminal Stenosis

Learning that you have foraminal stenosis (sometimes called foraminal narrowing) can be overwhelming. Especially if you don’t understand your condition, what it means, and the treatment options available to you. One way to help patients with foraminal stenosis better understand their condition is to compare it to a different, yet well-known, spinal condition that shares a number of similarities – spinal stenosis.

Similarities Between the Two Conditions

As it turns out, these two conditions share more than just a word in their names. Here are some of the ways in which foraminal stenosis and spinal stenosis are similar:

1. Both can be caused by the natural aging process. The unavoidable degeneration that the spine experiences as we age can cause both spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis.

2. Both involve some sort of narrowing in the spine. In spinal stenosis, the space within the spinal canal becomes reduced. In foraminal stenosis, the narrowing occurs in the foramen. Foramen are the holes between vertebrae that nerve roots pass through as they leave the spinal cord.

3. Both can cause nerve compression. Whether due to foraminal stenosis or spinal stenosis, compression of a nerve root in the spine can cause radiating pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling. Compression of the spinal cord, more often experienced with spinal stenosis, can cause loss of fine motor skills and difficulty walking.

4. Conservative treatment is enough to relieve symptoms. Unless a patient is in severe pain or disability upon diagnosis, initial treatment for both foraminal stenosis and spinal stenosis often involves an individualized combination of conservative methods, such as pain relievers, alternating hot and cold compresses, and corticosteroid injections.

Treatment at BEST

Those who have found several weeks or months of conservative treatment for either of these conditions unsuccessful are encouraged to contact BEST Health System for information about our minimally invasive procedures. 

We perform our procedures on an outpatient basis. This results in a shorter recovery time and risk of complications as compared to traditional open spine surgery. 

Feel free to reach out today!