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Living with foraminal narrowing

Foraminal narrowing, or the narrowing of canals within the spine, can greatly affect the daily life of anyone who has this condition. The spine is densely packed, and any one component being out of place can easily affect others. Such is the case for foraminal narrowing, which limits the space through which nerve roots run from the spine to other areas of the body — sometimes enough to place pressure on those nerves. That can lead to symptoms anywhere along the path of the affected nerve, including shooting pain, numbness, muscle weakness and even limited mobility. So, if you have foraminal narrowing, you’re probably wondering how to best live with it.

Addressing the symptoms

The first step in many foraminal narrowing treatment regimens is addressing the immediate symptoms, such as pain. Often, these symptoms are managed by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers to make getting through the day a bit easier. With several types of over-the-counter and prescription drugs available for these purposes, it’s best to consult with a physician to see which options would be most beneficial in your specific case.

Sometimes, symptoms of foraminal narrowing can be managed by making long-lasting lifestyle changes that help improve overall health. Some can even alleviate the pressure placed on the affected nerve, giving the patient relief, even if it’s only temporary. Some changes you might want to consider include:

  • Stretching regularly
  • Getting regular low-impact exercise
  • Attending physical therapy sessions
  • Practicing yoga
  • Eating a healthy, nutritious diet

Things to avoid

As there are activities that can improve foraminal narrowing symptoms, there are also those that can aggravate or even compound symptoms. Try avoiding the following activities to minimize potential complications:

  • Heavy lifting
  • High-impact exercise and contact sports
  • Smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

When conservative treatments aren’t enough

The vast majority of people with foraminal narrowing find that their symptoms improve after weeks or months of avoiding harmful activities and finding ways to manage pain and discomfort. If you’re part of the minority that notices their symptoms have remained the same or worsened, you may wish to consider the minimally invasive spine surgeries performed by USA Spine Care for people with foraminal stenosis and other spine conditions. Our minimally invasive surgeries are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^

To find out if you’re a candidate for our outpatient spine surgery, contact USA Spine Care today.

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