Foraminal stenosis is a condition in the spine that describes the narrowing of a foraminal canal — the passageway on either side of a vertebra through which nerves travel to the spinal canal. Because the foraminal canals have a tightly packed bundle of nerve roots passing through them, the development of foraminal stenosis greatly increases the risk of developing a pinched nerve in that section of the spine.
Often the most common way to tell if you’ve developed foraminal stenosis is by the presence of certain symptoms. By recognizing the symptoms of foraminal stenosis, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor and begin discussing treatment options before your symptoms worsen. The five most common symptoms of foraminal stenosis to watch for include:
- Radiating pain. The nerve roots in the foraminal canals carry sensory signals between the spine, brain and extremities. If one of these nerves becomes pinched from foraminal stenosis, the pain can travel the length of the nerve pathway, extending into the head, arm or leg, depending on the location of the pinched nerve.
- Numbness or tingling. If a nerve becomes pinched due to foraminal stenosis, it can be prevented from sending any signals to the associated arm or leg. This can develop into numbness or tingling in the foot or hand.
- Burning sensation. Much like radiating pain, a pinched nerve can leave a trail of pain burning from the nerve to the affected extremity. Many patients describe this as a burning sensation.
- Muscle fatigue. If a pinched nerve from foraminal stenosis is blocked from sending sensory signals to the muscles in the arm or leg, the muscle can experience fatigue or delayed reflexes.
- Muscle spasms. Likewise, if the muscle is receiving intermittent nerve signals due to foraminal stenosis, the muscle can begin to twitch or spasm.
If you begin to experience these symptoms of foraminal stenosis, contact your doctor to begin a course of conservative treatment. Many patients respond to this type of treatment within the first several months. However, if you are still experiencing pain and symptoms of foraminal stenosis after this time, you may be recommended for spine surgery.
Contact USA Spine Care today to find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery by requesting a no-cost MRI review.*