What Causes Thoracic Foraminal Narrowing?

Thoracic foraminal narrowing is a condition where the nerve canals that allow spinal nerves to exit into the spinal canal narrow on each side of the vertebra, causing pressure or pinching of the exiting nerve root. This will impact the upper and middle back. Which will in turn affect the ribcage, shoulders, and arms, leading to debilitating symptoms. These symptoms include pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, and burning. To learn about the cause and treatment options of thoracic foraminal narrowing, read the following article.

Causes of Thoracic Foraminal Narrowing

Thoracic foraminal narrowing is commonly attributed to the following causes:

  • Bone spurs
  • Excess weight
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Thickening of the ligaments
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Strenuous activity
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Traumatic injury

The exact cause of thoracic foraminal narrowing will depend and vary from patient to patient. Your doctor will do an extensive review of your medical history as well as run a number of diagnostic tests to pinpoint the exact cause of your condition.

Treatment Options at BEST

In order to treat your thoracic foraminal narrowing symptoms, your doctor may recommend weight management, anti-inflammatories, pain medications, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, heat massages, and range of motion exercises. However, if these treatments do not provide you with adequate relief after several weeks or months, surgery may become a necessary option.

BEST Health System is a leader in minimally invasive neck and back pain treatment. Our board-certified surgeons Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott perform the procedures at BEST which are a much safer and more effective alternative to open spine operations. The procedures at BEST are performed on an outpatient basis and only require a less than 1-inch incision. This typically allows for a shorter recovery time and a lowered risk of complication. 

Contact BEST Health System to learn if you are a candidate for minimally invasive treatment.