If you’ve been diagnosed with foraminal narrowing, you’ve probably been living with neck or back pain for a while now. Foraminal narrowing — also called foraminal stenosis — is a degenerative condition that usually progresses slowly over time. In fact, patients can live with this condition for years without experiencing any symptoms. Pain is only triggered when a foramen narrows enough to begin putting pressure on the nerve that passes through it. Discomfort is usually mild at first and may manifest as shooting pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
Because early symptoms are usually mild, many patients with foraminal narrowing are reluctant to seek prompt treatment, either believing the pain will go away on its own or dismissing it as an inevitable consequence of aging. While this tough-it-out attitude may seem sensible at first, it’s never a good idea to ignore chronic pain, as it’s the body’s way of alerting us that something is wrong. Other reasons to seek treatment for foraminal stenosis include:
- Diminished quality of life. Even mild discomfort can make patients less likely to engage in activities that trigger pain. If you are reluctant to play with your children or grandchildren or find yourself begging off family outings for fear of aggravating your condition, it can lead to an increased sense of isolation and loneliness.
- Progressive worsening of your symptoms. When left untreated, the symptoms of foraminal narrowing usually become more intense. If you delay too long, invasive treatments such as steroid injections or surgery may be required to address your pain.
- A decline in overall health. As your condition worsens and the pain intensifies, your range of motion will become increasingly limited, leading to a more sedentary lifestyle. Less exercise can lead to weight gain, a loss of muscle tone, diminished cardiovascular fitness, a slower metabolism and a weaker immune system, just to name a few of the consequences.
It’s always better to treat foraminal narrowing sooner rather than later. Take the first step toward pain relief by contacting USA Spine Care today. You’ll be able to discuss your condition and learn if you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive surgeries.
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