Severe foraminal narrowing is a degenerative spine condition that may cause considerable neck and back pain and other debilitating symptoms. Frequently exacerbated by injury or overuse of the spine, the already narrow canals in the spinal column, also known as the intervertebral 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 generally starts out conservatively, with a variety of non-surgical treatments that are designed to manage pain. Spine surgery is occasionally recommended when symptoms are greatly impacting quality of life or rapidly growing worse.
Severe foraminal narrowing typically develops gradually but can be exacerbated by injury. When a canal in the spine is severely constricted, nerves could become compressed and the patient may experience a wide variety of symptoms depending on the specific nerve that is affected. Some of the typical symptoms associated with spinal narrowing (or spinal stenosis) include:
- Local pain
- Traveling pain
- Soreness or stiffness
- Numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Muscle weakness
Treatment for severe foraminal narrowing can be difficult because this condition is generally the result of years of spinal deterioration that cannot be healed or reversed. In some circumstances, however, conservative, non-surgical treatments can provide sufficient pain relief. Pain medication, epidural injections, vertebral manipulation, physical therapy and other treatments have all been effective for many patients.
In the event that you have not responded to non-invasive treatments and your pain persists, your physician might recommend that you consider spine surgery to re-establish 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 find relief from neck or back pain.