Severe foraminal narrowing is a degenerative spine condition that may cause significant back and neck pain. Often exacerbated by injury, the narrow canals in the spinal column, also known as the foramina, can become constricted as a result of the regular wear and tear on the spine. These passageways normally allow nerves to exit the spinal column, but injured, displaced, or deteriorated tissue can clog the canals and lead to painful nerve compression.
Treatment of severe foraminal narrowing is normally first attempted conservatively, with a variety of noninvasive treatments which are designed to remove pressure from the affected part of the spine and manage pain. Spine surgery is occasionally recommended when symptoms are debilitating or rapidly growing worse.
Severe foraminal narrowing typically develops gradually but can be made worse by injury. When a canal is severely constricted, nerves become compressed and the patient may experience a wide variety of symptoms depending on the specific nerve that is affected. Some of the most common symptoms associated with spinal narrowing (or spinal stenosis) include:
- Local pain
- Traveling pain
- Numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Muscle weakness
- Soreness or stiffness
- And more
Treatment for severe foraminal narrowing can be difficult because this condition is usually the result of years of spinal deterioration. In some instances, however, conservative, noninvasive treatments can provide sufficient pain relief. Pain medication, epidural injections, vertebral manipulation, physical therapy, and other treatments may all be effective.
In the event that you have not responded to noninvasive treatments and your pain persists, your doctor may recommend that you consider spine surgery to recreate space for the nerves in the foramina. If this is your prognosis, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our outpatient spine procedures might be able to help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.