Foraminal narrowing is a spinal condition in which the openings between the vertebrae become smaller. These openings, called foramina, are passageways that allow nerve roots to extend out from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. When an opening narrows, it can cause pressure on a nerve root, resulting in a variety of unpleasant symptoms. The location of these symptoms will depend on where along the spine the nerve root is pinched. For example, cervical foraminal narrowing, which occurs in the cervical (neck) area, can create symptoms that travel through the neck, shoulders, arms and hands.
Symptoms of cervical foraminal narrowing
Cervical foraminal narrowing can cause a number of symptoms that interfere with your ability to go about your daily routines. Seven common symptoms that you should be aware of are:
- Neck pain
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling sensations
- Muscle spasms
- Radiating pain
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should consult with a physician for a diagnosis and treatment plan. It is important to note that these symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have foraminal narrowing in your neck, as many other spinal conditions can cause similar symptoms.
Treatment for cervical foraminal narrowing
Cervical foraminal narrowing treatment typically begins with a combination of conservative therapies. These may include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, low-impact exercises and alternative treatments like yoga and chiropractic care. Additionally, your physician may recommend specific lifestyle changes, such as losing excess weight, quitting smoking or improving posture. For many patients, some combination of conservative treatments will provide the relief they are searching for. However, if symptoms persist for several weeks or months, you may need to consider surgery as the next step.
USA Spine Care specializes in providing minimally invasive spine surgery that uses an incision that is less than 1-inch and offers many advantages versus traditional open neck or back surgery.^ Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of our outpatient procedures. We can also provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care.
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