Left foraminal narrowing is a degenerative spine condition that is generally caused by aging tissues in the spinal column. Foraminal narrowing, or stenosis, is the constriction or narrowing of the intervertebral foramina – small passageways in the spinal column that protect nerve roots as they enter and exit the spinal canal. The diagnosis of left foraminal narrowing, as the name suggests, means that one of the canals on the left side of the spinal column has become constricted, is compressing a nerve and is causing symptoms. Treatment for this condition differs depending on the cause of the compression and the severity of symptoms, although a combination of non-surgical techniques will typically offer significant pain relief.
Causes of foraminal narrowing
In order for nerve roots to branch off the spinal cord and extend to other nerve systems throughout the body, passageways known as foramina exist between the vertebrae that allow the nerve roots to exit the spinal column. Each vertebra has two foramina, one located on either side of the vertebral bone, and these channels help protect nerve roots. In the event that the left foramen becomes constricted as a result of an injury or the presence of a degenerative spine condition, the patient may experience left foraminal narrowing. This condition is particularly common in the cervical spine (in the neck) and lumbar spine (in the lower back).
Conditions that may cause left foraminal narrowing include:
- The presence of bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet disease
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Thickened ligaments
Treatment for left foraminal narrowing is normally first attempted conservatively, with a variety of non-surgical techniques. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, low-impact exercises, stretching and hot and cold compresses all can be used to alleviate pain. If the foraminal stenosis is severe and your symptoms haven’t abated after several weeks of conservative treatment, physicians may recommend spine surgery.
In the event that you are considering spine surgery to treat your foraminal stenosis, contact Laser Spine Institute first to learn about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, which may be able to offer you the pain relief you require without the prolonged recovery and increased risk frequently associated with open spine surgery.