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Three ways extended periods of sitting can cause foraminal stenosis

Foraminal stenosis is a common spinal condition characterized by the narrowing of the “foramina,” or passageways between the vertebrae through which spinal nerve roots must pass. The causes of foraminal stenosis can include a variety of degenerative spinal conditions, including spinal osteoarthritis, bulging or ruptured discs, bone spurs and spondylolisthesis. However, the overarching cause of this condition is almost always the deterioration the spine undergoes because of years of wear and tear. Other factors, such as obesity, frequent heavy lifting and participation in high-impact sports, can also speed the progression of this degenerative spinal condition.

Can sitting for too long cause foraminal stenosis?

The list of potential foraminal stenosis causes also includes sitting for extended periods. Here are some of the ways that spending hours each day seated at a desk and staring at a computer can contribute to the development of degenerative spinal conditions, including foraminal stenosis:

  • Disc compression can occur. Your spinal discs endure longer periods of compression when you are seated, which can reduce their elasticity and speed the development of conditions such as bulging and herniated discs.
  • Inactivity leads to deterioration. The elements of the spine receive less blood flow and absorb fewer nutrients when you are sedentary, which can contribute to degeneration.
  • Poor posture can be a factor. If you lean your neck and head forward while sitting at work, you will increase the strain on the cervical area of the spine.

There are several steps that can help you avoid spinal degeneration while seated for long periods. Start by making sure your office chair provides proper lower back support, and keep your feet flat on the floor as much as possible. You should also take several stretching breaks per day to loosen the muscles supporting the spine and avoid leaning your head and shoulders toward your computer screen.

Treating foraminal stenosis

If you are experiencing painful symptoms because of foraminal stenosis, you will likely be able to find relief by attempting nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, over-the-counter medications and lifestyle modifications for several months. However, if nonsurgical treatments don’t provide the symptom relief you are looking for, you might want to consider minimally invasive spine surgery at USA Spine Care. Our outpatient procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery. To help you find out if you are a candidate for surgery, USA Spine Care will provide a no-cost MRI review.*

If you would like to learn more about the causes of foraminal stenosis and the other degenerative spinal conditions we treat, contact USA Spine Care today.

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