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What does foraminal disc protrusion mean?

A foraminal disc protrusion is a degenerative spine condition that occurs when a disc weakens and bulges past its normal boundaries in the spinal column. The displaced disc material becomes situated in such a way that it blocks part or all of a foramina. The foramen are important passageways that are normally open, allowing nerve roots to exit the spinal cord between vertebrae and freely branch away to other parts of the body.

Is a foraminal disc protrusion painful?

Because a foraminal disc protrusion can potentially pressure a spinal nerve root, the condition can sometimes be painful. In addition to neck or back pain, a compressed nerve can produce radiating symptoms, such as muscle weakness, numbness and tingling sensations that travel down the length of an arm or leg.

But, it’s important to understand that not every foraminal disc protrusion causes discomfort. Even a very large protrusion can be painless if it does not cause nerve compression. A disc protrusion may actually block much of a foramina but still leave plenty of room for nerve roots to pass unobstructed. As such, no treatment will be necessary. In fact, the condition will likely go undetected.

How is a painful foraminal disc protrusion treated?

If a foraminal disc protrusion causes mild-to-moderate discomfort, nonsurgical treatment may be sufficient. Many people are able to find the relief they need with a unique combination of gentle stretches, low-impact exercises, hot and/or cold therapy and over-the-counter medications. If severe discomfort does not improve with several weeks of conservative therapy, more advanced treatment, such as a surgical procedure, may be considered.

If you’re interested in exploring surgery to address a foraminal disc protrusion, contact USA Spine Care. Our minimally invasive approach to spine surgery has earned a patient satisfaction score of 98.^ We can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate.

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