Foraminal Stenosis

Foraminal Stenosis

Foraminal stenosis, or narrowing, occurs when the open passageways between the spinal vertebrae (foramina) are encroached upon by displaced bone or soft tissue, often due to degenerative changes in parts of the spine. Spinal nerve roots must travel through these small, hollow archways as they branch away from the spinal cord to reach other areas of the body. If a spinal foramen is obstructed, a sensitive nerve root can become compressed. The resulting pressure on the nerve root can cause it to send faulty signals along its pathway in the form of pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle spasm. 

Causes

Most often foraminal stenosis results from spinal degradation that occurs along with the natural aging process. The gradual degradation of the spinal vertebrae and discs can lead to a number of degenerative spine conditions such as bone spurs, a herniated/bulging disc, arthritis, ligament thickening, and facet joint enlargement. 

Additionally, spinal injuries that result from trauma, repetitive movement, or carrying excess body weight can hasten this process or cause spontaneous degradation. The resulting structural changes in the spine can further limit the space within a foramen, causing it to become narrower so that there is less space available for exiting root nerve roots.

Treatment

Prior to considering surgical intervention, your doctor may recommend for you try a course of conservative treatments. This may include: 

  • Pain medication
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Anti-inflammatories

However, if several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatments prove ineffective in providing you with relief, contact BEST Health System. Our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped thousands of patients each year find relief from chronic neck and back pain and we are confident that we can help you on the road to recovery. 

Symptoms

If foraminal stenosis created pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve root, a variety of symptoms can develop. The nature and location of the symptoms vary based on the site of the affected foramen. More specifically, the symptoms can be localized or they may travel through the peripheral nervous system and radiate along the path of an affected nerve root. For instance, foraminal stenosis in the cervical spine can lead to symptoms in the neck, shoulder arms, and hands. 

On the other hand nerve compression in the lumbar spine can cause symptoms in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs, and feet. The most usual cause of traveling pain in the lower body is the compression of the sciatic nerve. This leads to a set of symptoms known as sciatica (pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness that radiates along the sciatic nerve that runs down the buttocks, along the back of the thighs and calves, and into the feet) 

Reach Out to BEST Health System Today

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.

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