Like most spinal conditions, treatment for foraminal stenosis varies considerably from patient to patient. There are multiple treatment approaches that may be suggested based on the patient’s age, overall health, medical preferences and specific symptoms.
What is foraminal stenosis?
Also known as foraminal narrowing, foraminal stenosis occurs when degenerating and shifting soft tissues and bones cause the passageways between the spinal vertebrae to narrow. In some cases, this narrowing pinches and irritates the spinal nerve roots that run through the passageways, which may trigger uncomfortable symptoms like muscle spasms, weakness, shooting or radiating pain, numbness or tingling sensations.
What are the most common foraminal stenosis treatment options?
Each patient’s ideal course of treatment will depend of a number of factors, such as his/her overall health and the severity of the narrowing and symptoms. However, many physicians recommend a combination of:
- Medication — Over-the-counter pain killers and anti-inflammatories can provide relief for many patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
- Physical therapy — Inactivity can actually make degenerative spine conditions like foraminal stenosis worse. That’s why physicians often suggest patients participate in physical therapy – a regimen of gentle exercises and stretches to increase the strength and flexibility of the spinal muscles.
- Heat and ice therapy — Applying cold packs to pained areas several times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time can numb discomfort and relieve inflammation. Using heat wraps is also commonly suggested, since heat improves blood flow which helps deliver much-needed oxygen to the injury site. A combination of both therapies is usually recommended for maximum pain relief.
- Alternative treatments — Every physician has their own treatment philosophy. Some may recommend less traditional therapies, like acupuncture, massage and herbal supplements, to supplement or serve as a main form of treatment.
In the event that conservative foraminal stenosis treatment fails to relieve symptoms, surgery may be recommended. USA Spine Care specializes in minimally invasive, outpatient procedures for foraminal stenosis that involve less risk than traditional open spine surgeries.
To find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today and we will be happy to provide you with a no-cost MRI review*.