Foraminal stenosis symptoms are caused by the foraminal canals narrowing, compressing and pinching the nerves that pass through the openings as they exit the spinal cord.
For many people, foraminal stenosis does not produce symptoms. Unless a nerve root is pinched within the narrowing foraminal canal, symptoms will not develop.
Location of foraminal stenosis symptoms
This nerve compression can result in a variety of problems, depending on the location of the nerve root being pinched.
For example, foraminal stenosis in the L5/S1 level (lumbar spine) can compress the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This can cause sciatica — an often intense, burning pain that travels to the buttock, leg, calf and foot. Severe sciatica can cause difficulty walking or standing, which can greatly affect your everyday life.
A pinched nerve in the neck, however, may be the cause of pain and muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm and hand. This can interfere with daily activities like driving, sleeping and household chores.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
The most common foraminal stenosis symptoms include:
- Local pain
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- The feeling of pins and needles or extreme heat
- Traveling pain along the nerve’s path
In rare cases, spinal degeneration and its resulting nerve compression can require emergency treatment. For example, it is vital that a patient who is experiencing incontinence of the bladder or bowels, excessive pain or extreme muscle weakness in the legs go to the emergency room right away. These symptoms could be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a potentially serious disorder that requires urgent medical attention.
Treatment for foraminal stenosis symptoms
Often, the symptoms of foraminal stenosis can be managed with nonsurgical treatments prescribed by a family physician. Conservative treatments can include pain medication and low-impact exercises, among other options.
Only in the event that these conservative options have proven ineffective after several months, or the symptoms are debilitating, will a physician recommend surgery.
At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat the symptoms of foraminal stenosis. Unlike traditional open back surgery, our procedures relieve nerve compression through a smaller, muscle-sparing incision. The result is a shorter recovery^ and a lower risk of complication.
Find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures today by requesting a no-cost MRI review* from our team.
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