Alternatives to foraminal stenosis surgery allow patients to find relief for uncomfortable symptoms without undergoing extensive procedures. While each patient’s ideal form of treatment varies according to the specifics of their diagnosis and overall health, many people can benefit from conservative (nonsurgical) therapies.
What is foraminal stenosis?
Foraminal stenosis, also referred to as foraminal narrowing, occurs when the passageways located between the spinal vertebrae are narrowed as a result of shifting soft tissue or bone. This movement is often caused by the natural degeneration of the spine with age, and may pinch or irritate the spinal nerve roots. Compressed nerves can trigger a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as shooting or aching pain, numbness, tingling sensations, weakness and muscle spasms.
Are there alternatives to foraminal stenosis surgery?
There are several alternatives to traditional foraminal stenosis surgery. In fact, surgery is usually only considered in cases where conservative treatments do not provide acceptable relief. Multiple conservative treatment approaches may be recommended, including:
- Heat and ice therapy — Applying an ice pack on a pained area several times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time can slow blood flow around the injury, thereby reducing pain and inflammation. On the other hand, using a heat wrap increases blood flow and supplies oxygen to sore joints muscles, which helps soothe pain. A combination of these two therapies is usually suggested for maximum pain relief.
- Physical therapy — Gentle exercise is key to overcoming neck and back pain. Many patients are surprised to hear that too much rest actually weakens the muscles surrounding the spine and decreases flexibility, which can worsen symptoms. That’s why physicians often encourage patients to participate in physical therapy to improve back strength and mobility.
- Chiropractic adjustments — A chiropractor is uniquely trained to realign and adjust the spine using manual and mechanical manipulation. This manipulation can relieve pressure on the spine, lessening foraminal stenosis symptoms.
- Other alternative methods — Every physician has their own treatment philosophy. Some may recommend less conventional treatments, such as massages, acupuncture and herbal supplements, to help relieve uncomfortable symptoms.
If conservative treatments have been exhausted, surgery may be recommended. But, that doesn’t mean traditional open spine surgeries are the only option. USA Spine Care performs minimally invasive procedures on an outpatient-basis that offer many benefits compared to traditional surgery, including a shorter recovery time and less surgical scarring.
If you are exploring alternatives to traditional open spine foraminal stenosis surgery, contact USA Spine Care today. We will be able to determine if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spinal procedures.