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What is Foraminal stenosis?
Foraminal stenosis refers to an abnormal reduction in the size of nerve channels associated with your spinal bones.
What are the symptoms of Foraminal stenosis ?
Foraminal stenosis may produce symptoms of a nerve-damaging condition called radiculopathy. Additional symptoms may include:
Common symptoms of Foraminal Stenosis include:
- In the lumbar spine: pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and feet. If impingement affects one of the roots of your sciatic nerve, you can develop sciatica
- In the cervical spine: pain, numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness in the neck, arms, hands, and sometimes in the head
- In the thoracic spine (less common): pain, tingling, or numbness in the upper or mid back, radiating through the stomach or chest, which patients often confuse for cardiovascular problems
Prior to having a surgical procedure to treat your foraminal stenosis, conservative measures such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and steroid injections should be attempted. If these measures do not meaningfully relieve your pain, a North American Spine procedure may be the best option for long-term relief.
What are the causes of Foraminal stenosis?
In addition to aging, foraminal stenosis may develop as a consequence of one or more of a few other problems:
Additional common Foraminal Stenosis causes include:
- Age-related wear and tear, which can lead to Degenerative Disc Disease
- Scoliosis, A genetic condition causing curvature of the spine, scoliosis can also lead to the development of foraminal stenosis.
- Back or neck strain due to repetitive physical activity, poor posture, imbalances in the musculature, or heavy lifting
- Direct physical injuries such as a car accident or fall
- Genetics, whether or not the symptoms appeared in your parents
- Arthritis, which can lead to joint deterioration
- Herniated discs in the spinal column.
What is the treatment like for Foraminal stenosis?
Treatment and procedure options for Foraminal Stenosis range from conservative options like injections to more intensive procedures like spinal fusions.
Conservative Options Conservative treatment options include nerve root blocks and steroid injections. These are designed to provide temporary relief (up to one year), and you may elect to have the procedure done multiple times. Other conservative strategies may include the placement of a spinal cord stimulator–or STIM–which is designed not to correct the underlying degeneration, but to lessen the pain the condition causes.
Decompression Decompression may be used for cases in which the structural integrity of the vertebrae or spinal cord is not threatened. These procedures concentrate on freeing entrapped nerves, typically be enlarging the space through which nerves pass. Depending on the demands of the procedure and your unique physiology, a special surgical laser may be used.
Fusion/Stablization Fusion, also called stabilization, procedures may be used when the stability of the spine or vertebrae are compromised or threatened. In some of these cases, more than one harmful condition may exist. While these procedures are minimally invasive and enjoy a high success rate, some patients may be required to stay overnight for observation.
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