What Causes Foraminal Stenosis?

Have You Been Diagnosed with Foraminal Stenosis?

Those suffering from foraminal stenosis know the pain it can cause in their daily lives. This condition occurs when foramina (passageways between the spinal vertebrae allowing nerves to travel from the spinal cord to other areas of the body) either narrows or becomes obstructed by bone, soft tissue, or scar tissue. This differs from spinal stenosis, which occurs when the central spinal canal narrows.

What Causes Foraminal Stenosis?

  1. Spinal degeneration. Gradual age-related spinal degeneration typically causes foraminal stenosis. This deterioration can lead to spinal conditions that cause the foraminal passageways to narrow or obstruct. This includes arthritis, bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, swollen facet joints, thickened or hardened ligaments, spondylolisthesis, and inflamed soft tissue.
  2. Injury. Foraminal stenosis can be caused by injury through a sudden impact or repetitive movement.
  3. Genetic predisposition. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop foraminal stenosis, including those born with exceptionally small foraminal passageways, those who suffer from scoliosis or Paget’s disease, and those with inordinately high fluoride levels.
  4. Lifestyle. Additionally, people who carry excess weight, smokers, or those who fail to exercise risk developing foraminal stenosis.

Related Symptoms

You may wonder what common symptoms are if your doctor diagnoses you with foraminal stenosis. It is important to educate yourself on the condition and the effects it may have on your body. If you have developed foraminal stenosis, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Burning sensation
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Muscle spasms

If you are in extreme pain, it is important to check in with your doctor. They may suggest conservative treatment options to help you manage your pain. Depending on the severity of your condition and any underlying health conditions, your doctor may suggest a range of treatment options. 

Conservative Treatments

If you have back or neck pain due to your foraminal stenosis, your doctor may suggest conservative therapies. These therapies allow patients to manage their pain without the need for surgery. Your doctor may suggest combining physical therapy, healthy eating, and other treatment options, such as a medical massage.

If conservative treatments are ineffective, you may begin to consider injections for pain or surgical options. However, invasive surgery is no longer the only option when it comes to foraminal stenosis treatment. 

Treatment with Dr. Keith Girton

At BEST Health System’s Cincinnati facility, Dr. Keith Girton is our spine specialist who is an expert in minimally invasive surgeries. We believe that open back surgery should not be the only option for patients seeking relief from their neck or back pain. Do you want to learn more about surgery with Dr. Keith Girton? Contact BEST Health System today.