Complete prevention of foraminal narrowing may not be possible, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing the condition. Foraminal narrowing, also called foraminal stenosis, is characterized as a gradual narrowing of the foramina, or open passageways between adjacent vertebrae, through which spinal nerve roots travel as they exit the spinal cord. While foraminal stenosis is generally not painful in and of itself, a narrowed foramen can exert pressure on a nearby spinal nerve. If this occurs, symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, and spasms can spread from the back or neck to the extremities innervated by the compressed nerve.
Foraminal Narrowing Risk Factors
The single most common cause of foraminal narrowing is degeneration that accompanies the natural aging process. While there is no way to turn back the hands of time, you can modify your behavior to keep the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, facet joints, muscles, and ligaments of the spine as healthy as possible, reducing your risk. Below are a few tips to maintain spine strength:
- Do not smoke and keep consumption of alcohol to a minimum.
- Eat foods low in saturated fat and high in calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Stay hydrated.
- Exercise, but avoid high-impact activities that hurt your back or neck.
- Practice regular, gentle stretching, like restorative yoga.
- Avoid lifting or pulling heavy objects.
Conservative Treatments for Foraminal Stenosis
Even if you are in perfect health, you may still develop conditions like a herniated disc, a bulging disc, or bone spurs, which can contribute to foraminal stenosis. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about a conservative treatment regimen that may include pain medication, intermittent rest, hot-cold therapy, or behavior modification.
The Role of Laser Spine Institute
If you find that weeks or months of conservative treatments have not helped your symptoms to abate, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We offer a variety of minimally invasive nerve decompression procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people rediscover their lives without back and neck pain. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.