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What is mild left foraminal narrowing?

Foraminal narrowing (stenosis) is a degenerative spinal condition that occurs when the foraminal canals become narrower. These small openings between vertebrae allow nerve roots to freely branch away from the spinal cord to serve other areas of the body. Essentially, if you’ve been diagnosed with mild left foraminal stenosis, your physician has found that one or more of these passageways on the left-hand side of your spinal column has become partially or fully blocked.

Should I be worried about mild left foraminal narrowing?

A diagnosis of foraminal narrowing is not necessarily a cause for concern. The condition is relatively common and often results from natural, age-related changes in the spine, such as a damaged disc or bone spur. What’s more, mild foraminal stenosis is not always painful. Usually, discomfort develops only if a foramina becomes constricted to the point that a nerve root becomes pinched. A compressed spinal nerve can produce a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Neck or back pain around the site of nerve compression
  • Pain that travels down the length of an arm or leg
  • Tingling sensations that radiate along the pathway of the affected nerve
  • Muscle stiffness or weakness in an arm or leg

What should I do if I experience discomfort related to foraminal narrowing?

Oftentimes, the symptoms produced by mild left foraminal narrowing can be effectively addressed with home remedies and conservative therapies. For instance, many people are able to find the relief they need with over-the-counter pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hot and/or cold therapy, low-impact exercise and healthy lifestyle habits, such as practicing good posture and losing excess body weight.

If you’ve tried to address your discomfort conservatively but have not achieved meaningful relief within approximately three months, your physician may recommend a surgical procedure to relieve the pressure on your pinched nerve. This can often be accomplished in more than one way. To learn more, contact USA Spine Care. Our team can tell you about the benefits of our minimally invasive outpatient surgery and provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate.

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