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Four common misconceptions of foraminal narrowing

Foraminal narrowing, or foraminal stenosis, is a degenerative spine condition that many people don’t fully understand. This condition describes a situation where one of the foramina – which are the narrow passageways in between the vertebrae through which the nerve roots exit the spinal canal – become narrowed, potentially constricting the nerves housed within the canal. This article intends to clear up some of the most common misconceptions that people have about this condition.

Clearing up a few misunderstandings

Here are four examples of the misconceptions that people sometimes have about foraminal stenosis:

  • Misconception One: Foraminal narrowing is unusual — Foraminal stenosis is a common degenerative spine condition that is diagnosed in patients of all ages. While the name may seem intimidating, if you are diagnosed with spinal narrowing, you are not alone and there are countless patients who are dealing with the same condition as you.
  • Misconception Two: Foraminal stenosis always causes symptoms — While foraminal stenosis is often diagnosed when a patient complains of chronic pain, the condition is not symptomatic in and of itself. Many people have narrow foramen but don’t realize the “problem.” In fact, foraminal narrowing usually only causes symptoms when the narrowing results in nerve compression.
  • Misconception Three: Foraminal narrowing requires surgery — In most cases, when a patient is diagnosed with spinal narrowing, the first step is to attempt to manage symptoms nonsurgically, usually with a regimen of conservative methods like the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, low-impact exercise and hot/cold therapy. Surgery is almost always reserved for patients who have exhausted all other treatment options without experiencing acceptable results.
  • Misconception Four: Foraminal narrowing was caused by something the patient did — There are countless potential causes of spinal narrowing and it is difficult to predict who, exactly, will experience the condition. Generally speaking, physicians have identified risk factors that may make a person more susceptible to neck and back problems – having a line of work that requires frequent bending, twisting and lifting, for example – but this is by no means comprehensive. Many otherwise healthy individuals get diagnosed with foraminal narrowing all the time.

Get the treatment you need

If you have been diagnosed with foraminal narrowing or any other degenerative spine condition, and you have not found the relief that you require from conservative treatment, contact USA Spine Care. We offer a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you might be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures. We’ll be glad to clear up any misconceptions about the condition that you might have and answer your questions.

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