If you have been diagnosed with foraminal stenosis, you might be wondering what caused your condition, if your symptoms are normal, what types of tests can confirm the diagnosis and what treatment options to consider. Read these five facts about foraminal stenosis to learn more and take control of your health.
Five facts about foraminal stenosis
- Foraminal stenosis is most commonly caused by spinal degeneration. As the body ages, the spinal discs and the vertebrae gradually deteriorate and can lead to bone spurs, herniated discs, bulging discs, arthritis, ligament thickening and enlargement of the facet joints. All of these conditions can contribute to narrowing of the passageways between the spinal vertebrae.
- Foraminal stenosis can also be caused by trauma. Injury or trauma to the spine, such as a car accident or injury from contact sports, can cause foraminal stenosis. Repetitive movement over extended periods of time can lead to spinal degeneration as well. Being overweight adds excess strain on the spine and can cause micro-trauma that results in spinal narrowing.
- Symptoms of foraminal stenosis can vary depending on the location of spinal narrowing. Foraminal stenosis symptoms are typically caused by pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots and include pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and muscle spasms. If the sciatic nerve is compressed by foraminal stenosis, you can experience sciatica symptoms. Sciatica symptoms include pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve from the low back to the buttocks, down the backs of the thighs, down to the calves and into the feet and toes. If spinal narrowing occurs higher up in the spine, symptoms can radiate from the neck, to the shoulder, down the arm and into the hands and fingers.
- Foraminal stenosis diagnosis can be confirmed using imaging procedures. After your physician has conducted a thorough symptom review, gathered your medical history and performed a physical examination, he or she may also order diagnostic testing or imaging procedures to confirm the diagnosis. These tests might include an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, myelogram or bone scan.
- Most people find that conservative treatment controls symptoms. For most people suffering from foraminal stenosis, a combination of conservative treatment options is able to control symptoms and allow them to continue everyday activities. Conservative treatment options include rest, pain medication, exercise and stretching, physical therapy and chiropractic care. If conservative treatment does not control symptoms, surgical options can help to relieve pain and regain the ability to participate in normal daily activities.
Find out more about minimally invasive spine surgery for foraminal stenosis by contacting USA Spine Care. We have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. Contact USA Spine Care today for a no-cost MRI* review and to find out more about foraminal stenosis treatment options and our minimally invasive procedures.