Left foraminal narrowing is a degenerative spine condition that is commonly caused by growing older. Foraminal narrowing, or stenosis, is the constriction or narrowing of the foramina – small passageways in the spinal column that protect nerves as they enter and exit the spinal canal. The diagnosis of left foraminal narrowing, unsurprisingly, means that one of the canals on the left side of the spinal column has become constricted and is compressing a nerve and causing symptoms. Treatment for this condition varies depending on the cause of the compression and the severity of symptoms, although a combination of noninvasive techniques will typically offer sufficient pain relief.
In order for nerve roots to branch off the spinal cord and extend throughout the body, passageways known as foramina exist between the vertebrae that allow the nerves to exit the spinal column. Each vertebra has two foramina located on either side of the bone that protect these nerves. 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:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet disease
- The presence of bone spurs
- Other forms of osteoarthritis
Treatment for left foraminal narrowing is normally first attempted conservatively, with a variety of noninvasive techniques. Pain medication, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, low-impact exercises, stretching, and hot/cold compresses all can be used to decompress spinal nerves and alleviate pain. If the foraminal stenosis is severe and your symptoms haven’t abated after several weeks of conservative treatment, doctors 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 endoscopic spine surgery as an alternative. Our safe and effective outpatient procedures may be able to offer you the pain relief you require without the recovery and risk associated with open spine surgery.