Learning that you have foraminal stenosis (sometimes called foraminal narrowing) can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand your condition, what it means and the treatment options available to you. One way to help patients with foraminal stenosis better understand their condition is to compare it to a different, yet well known, spinal condition that shares a number of similarities — spinal stenosis.
Similarities between foraminal stenosis and spinal stenosis
As it turns out, these two conditions share more than just a word in their names. Here are some of the ways in which foraminal stenosis and spinal stenosis are similar:
- Both can be caused by the natural aging process. The unavoidable degeneration that the spine experiences as we age can cause both spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis.
- Both involve some sort of narrowing in the spine. In spinal stenosis, the space within the spinal canal becomes reduced, while in foraminal stenosis, the narrowing occurs in the foramen — the holes between vertebrae that nerve roots pass through as they leave the spinal cord.
- Both can cause nerve compression. Whether due to foraminal stenosis or spinal stenosis, compression of a nerve root in the spine can cause radiating pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling. Compression of the spinal cord, more often experienced with spinal stenosis, can cause loss of fine motor skills and difficulty walking.
- They are typically both treated conservatively. Unless a patient is in severe pain or disability upon diagnosis, initial treatment for both foraminal stenosis and spinal stenosis often involves an individualized combination of conservative methods, such as pain relievers, alternating hot and cold compresses and corticosteroid injections.
Spinal and foraminal stenosis treatment at USA Spine Care
Those who have found several weeks or months of conservative treatment for foraminal stenosis or spinal stenosis unsuccessful are encouraged to contact USA Spine Care for information about our minimally invasive procedures. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and come with less recovery time and risk of complications as compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To find out if you are a candidate for our procedures, call USA Spine Care today to request a no-cost review* of your MRI.
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