Foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine due to the enlargement of a joint in the spinal canal. Over the years, you may find that someone who once lived an active lifestyle may not be able to enjoy the activities they once loved.

Foraminal stenosis, also known as neural foraminal narrowing occurs when the intervertebral foramen is narrowed, usually due to the enlargement of a joint in the spinal canal.

The condition usually develops over many years and can impact a person’s mobility. Someone who once led an active lifestyle might find themselves unable to enjoy the activities they once loved.

What Causes Foraminal Stenosis?

When the open passageway between the spinal vertebrae is impinged by displaced bone or soft tissue, the passageway will begin to narrow. If the spinal foramen, that is, the bony, hollow archway through which all spinal nerve roots run, is blocked, a nerve root can become compressed. When the nerve root is compressed, it will send out pain signals.

Foraminal stenosis can occur during the natural aging process. But it is often related to certain activities, such as bicycle riding or other situations where the neck or back was in a certain position for an extended period of time.

Signs and Symptoms

The condition typically affects the neck, though it can also occur in the lower back. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • "Pins and needles” feelings in the legs or arms

Sciatica pain is a possible sign of foraminal stenosis as the pain or numbness reaches down into the sciatic nerve.

Treating Foraminal Stenosis

Diagnosing this type of spinal stenosis starts with a consultation, including a physical exam to determine loss of mobility and pain level. A doctor may then require X-rays, MRI or CT scans, a bone scan or a myelogram to show any pressure on the spinal cord or nerves from other spinal conditions like herniated discs.

Unfortunately, some doctors will only choose to treat the pain through the use of pain relieving drugs. However, these methods do not always solve the problem. Some patients may choose to alter their activities, such as choosing to go for a long walk rather than riding a bicycle, while others may require spinal surgery to alleviate the pressure and pain caused by foraminal stenosis.

Failing to get treatment for neural foraminal narrowing can lead to other conditions, such as a herniated or bulging disc, arthritis and bone spurs.

At The Bonati Spine Institute, you can get a no-obligation MRI review to discuss your treatment options if you believe you’re suffering from foraminal stenosis. Discuss your condition with Dr. Alfred Bonati and the professionals at The Bonati Spine Institute today.

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