Moderate neural foraminal narrowing refers to the gradual constriction of the foramina (nerve passageways) in the spinal column which has resulted in nerve compression. As we grow older, these small passageways can slowly close around the nerves that they protect, resulting in back and neck pain. Treatment for light and moderate foraminal narrowing – also known as foraminal stenosis – is normally first attempted conservatively with a series of noninvasive treatments. Spine surgery is also occasionally recommended to patients who do not experience sufficient pain relief from other treatments.
The foramina (or singular, foramen) of the spine are narrow canals that allow nerve roots branching off the spinal cord to exit the spinal column. These canals exist between the vertebrae in the spine, and are prone to becoming clogged with disc material, bone, and soft tissue as the spine naturally begins to deteriorate. Over the years, as this deteriorated material collects in the spinal column, the foramina and spinal canal can become clogged, resulting in the impingement or irritation of the nerves in the canal. When this happens, the patient may experience a variety of symptoms depending on the specific nerve that is impacted. Local pain, pain that seems to travel along the nerve, unexpected muscle weakness, spasms, and other symptoms are all commonly associated with nerve compression in the spinal column.
Treatment for Stenosis
Treatment of moderate neural foraminal narrowing is focused on decompressing the compressed nerve and offering the patient distinguishable pain relief. The first step in determining the most appropriate treatment plan is to identify the source of the foraminal narrowing. A herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis, and osteoarthritis are all examples of degenerative spine conditions that may be to blame. In most cases, conservative treatment offers sufficient relief. These noninvasive treatments can include:
- Hot/cold compresses
- Low-impact exercise
- Pain medication
- Epidural injections
- Stretching techniques
- Alternative medicine
If you are still looking for relief after attempting conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our outpatient endoscopic procedures and see for yourself how we may be able to help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.