The spine endures a great deal of daily wear and tear, and as we get older, the bones and soft tissue that comprise it can start to deteriorate. When this occurs, elements of the spine may move out of their normal positions and encroach on the openings between the vertebrae — called intervertebral foramina — through which spinal nerve roots pass on their way to other parts of the body. Known as foraminal stenosis, this condition can lead to nerve compression and, in turn, a variety of symptoms, which can interfere with daily life.
Recognizing the symptoms of foraminal narrowing
Most common in the lumbar spine (lower back area) because of the amount of movement and pressure it is subjected to, foraminal stenosis can produce a variety of symptoms. They include:
- Chronic pain
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
The diagnosis process can sometimes be difficult because symptoms can radiate along a nerve pathway to other areas of the body. For example, symptoms of foraminal stenosis in the lower back can appear in the lower back, hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Treating foraminal narrowing
Once your doctor has determined that foraminal narrowing in your lower back is the source of your symptoms, he or she will most likely suggest that you try a combination of conservative treatments to help reduce your pain and inflammation. Options can include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and lifestyle adjustments designed to improve your overall spine health.
If your symptoms haven’t responded to conservative methods after several weeks or months, it might be time to consider surgery. At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive surgery that utilizes a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques to help shorten the recovery process, and we can provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate.
Contact USA Spine Care today for more information about our outpatient procedures to treat foraminal stenosis and other degenerative spinal conditions.