In most cases, foraminal stenosis develops as a result of another degenerative spine condition, such as a bulging or herniated disc. These issues can reduce the already-limited amount of space within the spinal canal, sometimes to the point that the openings between vertebrae are obstructed. This condition is known as foraminal stenosis, which often causes back pain and other symptoms.
Other potential causes of foraminal stenosis include:
- Spinal arthritis
- Bone spurs
While most of these conditions result from the natural degeneration of the spine that occurs gradually over time, they can also be caused by certain injuries. For instance, falling off a ladder or colliding with another person can cause a sudden trauma to the spine, potentially leading to foraminal stenosis. That said, injuries account for far fewer cases of foraminal stenosis than age-related wear and tear.
What should you do if you think you’ve injured your spine?
If you think you’ve injured your spine, you should make an appointment with a medical professional. He or she can assess your symptoms and — if necessary — order diagnostic imaging tests to get a clear picture of your spinal anatomy.
It’s important to keep in mind that certain conditions, such as foraminal stenosis, may develop slowly over time. If you start to notice symptoms weeks or even months after injuring yourself, you should still turn to a physician for an official diagnosis. This can help ensure that you’re taking the most appropriate approach to treatment.
What are the treatment options for foraminal stenosis?
If you’re diagnosed with foraminal stenosis, you’ll likely be advised to explore a variety of conservative therapies. A combination of medications, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises and/or lifestyle changes may help you manage your neck or back pain.
If your symptoms persist for an extended period of time, however, you may start to think about surgery. An operation can be performed to widen the openings in your spine and relieve the nerve compression that’s causing your symptoms. Depending on the specific cause of your foraminal stenosis, your treatment team may also recommend removing a bone spur or part of a damaged disc.
To talk with an experienced professional about the causes of and treatment options for foraminal stenosis, you can contact USA Spine Care. Our team can review* your MRI for free and help you find out if you’re a candidatefor minimally invasive surgery performed at one of our state-of-the-art surgery centers.
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