What Does Foraminal Narrowing of the C5 and C6 Mean? 

Typically, a normal foramen functions as the opening between two vertebral bodies of the spine where the nerves travel through. The nerves use this canal to leave a spine on its way to another destination in the body. However, when this pathway narrows, which is known as foraminal narrowing. This narrowing can lead to extreme pressure on the exiting nerve root.

As a result, pain along the nerve’s path, numbness, weakness, tingling as well as a pins-and-needles sensation can occur in the spine. In the event that you believe you are suffering from this condition, then consult your doctor. They can get a medical history, perform a physical examination and order a series of diagnostic tests to properly diagnose the location and severity of your condition.

Foraminal Narrowing of the Cervical Spine

Foraminal narrowing commonly takes place in the C5 to C6 levels of the spine. C5 and C6 are beneath the middle of the cervical spine and offer structural support and flexibility to the neck. If the foramina become narrowed at this spinal segment, compression can occur on the C6 nerve root, causing pain and discomfort that radiates down the shoulder, arm, side of the forearm, and into the thumb in your hand.

Conservative Therapy Options

To relieve your foraminal narrowing symptoms, conservative treatments are typically the first step on the road to recovery. This may include:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Pain medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy
  • Heat massages

However, in the event that these conservative treatments do not alleviate the symptoms in your cervical spine, then surgery is advised as a last resort measure for relief.

Foraminal Narrowing Surgery at BEST Health System

At BEST, our surgical team offers a variety of minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to treat foraminal narrowing in the cervical spine. Depending on the severity of your condition, our board-certified surgeons may either relieve the pressure on the nerve by removing the source of compression or stabilize the spine through a small incision that is muscle-sparing. 

To find out more about what sets us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, contact us today.