Foraminal stenosis is a condition that occurs in the spine when the openings that allow nerve roots to exit the spinal cord, called foramina, experience narrowing. This narrowing can be caused by a number of related spine conditions including bulging discs, herniated discs and bone spurs. Although foraminal stenosis is common and not necessarily painful, it can cause symptoms if there is enough constriction to compress a nerve root and interfere with its functioning.
Some of the most common symptoms of foraminal stenosis include local pain, pain that shoots along the nerve and tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in the extremities. Patients diagnosed with foraminal stenosis may experience other symptoms, like headaches or dizziness, and wonder if they are related to this condition or if it is due to another cause. It is important to speak to your doctor for a proper diagnosis of any symptoms, but it can also be beneficial to educate yourself as a patient. By learning more about how foraminal stenosis could be related to feelings of dizziness and vertigo, you can work more closely with your doctor to get the care and treatment you deserve.
Foraminal stenosis and vertigo
Foraminal stenosis can occur at any level of the spine but it is most common in the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) regions due to their relative flexibility and weight load they support. The cervical spine runs from the base of the skull to the top of the ribcage, and due to its proximity to the head, is the most likely region to be associated with dizziness. This could potentially be due to the following causes:
- Compression of a nerve affecting your body’s ability to orient itself
- Compression of a vertebral artery that disrupts blood flow to the head
- An issue in the upper cervical spine near the brainstem
Treatment for foraminal stenosis
Foraminal stenosis symptoms can often be relieved without the need for surgery by following a doctor’s recommendation for conservative treatment. You may be recommended physical therapy, therapeutic massage, hot/cold compression therapy, medications or spinal injections. If weeks or months go by and this mode of treatment has not improved symptoms enough for a good quality of life, you may be asked to consider spine surgery to remove the spinal anatomy that is causing foraminal stenosis.
If you are researching the possibility of a surgical procedure, contact USA Spine Care to learn about the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck or back surgery, offering our patients a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication.^
To learn more and receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, reach out to us today.
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