Foraminal stenosis is a condition that describes the narrowing of the foramina — the canals through which spinal nerve roots branch off the spinal cord and exit the spinal canal. Typically, this condition develops as a result of another spine condition that has protruded into the spinal canal and is reducing the space in the foramina. For example, degenerative spine conditions such as bone spurs or herniated discs cause a component of the spine to move out of alignment and shift into the space in the spinal canal.
While foraminal stenosis does not always result in pain and discomfort, these symptoms can occur if a nerve root in the foraminal canal is compressed during the narrowing process. Because the foraminal canal houses nerve roots that carry messages between the brain, spine and associated extremity, symptoms of pain and discomfort can also be accompanied by tingling, weakness, numbness, cramping and spasms in the arm or leg.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your physician to determine the best treatment options to reduce your pain. Your physician may initially suggest that you try conservative (noninvasive) treatments, such as physical therapy, pain medication, and hot or cold therapy, and many people find that visiting a chiropractor can provide temporary symptomatic relief.
Chiropractic treatment for foraminal stenosis
A chiropractor is a medical professional who focuses on readjusting and aligning the spine through manual and mechanical manipulation. While this process may sound intimidating, it is actually very simple and often involves no pain.
Using manual manipulation to realign the spine, a chiropractor may incorporate specific adjustment techniques to the neck, arms, back and legs to relieve pressure in the spine and help treat foraminal stenosis pain. The purpose of these techniques is to realign any components of the spine that have shifted out of place and are causing the foraminal canal to narrow. By manually moving these components back into proper alignment, more space is created in the foraminal canal and the impacted nerve is decompressed.
You should complete several months of chiropractic care before determining whether or not this type of treatment is effective for your condition.
When conservative treatments fail
If you have moderate or severe foraminal stenosis and you have not found any lasting pain relief, you should consult your physician or spine care specialist about a surgical treatment option to help alleviate your pain so you can get back to the activities you love.
Spine surgery can be an overwhelming thought, especially with the potential risks and failed back surgeries that are often associated with traditional open back procedures.
At USA Spine Care, we believe that patients should have access to a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery is often used to treat degenerative spine conditions that are causing foraminal stenosis, as well as other common spine conditions.
During our procedure, a small portion of the damaged or protruding spine is removed through a small, 1-inch incision. Because of the minimally invasive nature of the surgery, the muscles surrounding the spine are left undisturbed, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ than patients who choose to undergo traditional open back surgery.
For more severe cases of foraminal stenosis, we offer a minimally invasive stabilization procedure in which the damaged portion of the spine is removed through a small incision and replaced with an artificial disc or fused to the surrounding vertebrae, depending on the part of the spine that is damaged.
To learn more, contact USA Spine Care and request a review of your MRI or CT scan.