Neural stenosis, also referred to as neural foraminal stenosis, is a narrowing of the opening through which your nerves pass from the spinal cord to the rest of your body. These openings in your vertebrae are known as foramen. The word neural in the name of this condition refers to the fact that it affects the nerves or nervous system of your body. Foraminal tells you that the condition has to do with a bone opening, and stenosis refers to the constricting or narrowing of that opening.
Neural stenosis can be caused by a number of different issues, including:
- Disc degeneration
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Many people with neural stenosis have no symptoms because their foramen are still large enough to allow the nerves to pass through unimpeded. But, if an opening becomes too narrow, it puts pressure on the nerve, causing pain, tingling, a “pins-and-needles” sensation, or even numbness in the area that the compressed nerve affects.
The most common reason for neural stenosis is disc degeneration due to aging. As we get older, our discs begin to break down and can become herniated or bulge, infringing on the openings in your spine and putting pressure on the nerves. The more your discs rupture, the more they compress the nerve, and the more pain you feel.
Thankfully, there are ways to treat neural stenosis. First, your physician will likely recommend X-rays and/or an MRI to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. Once you have determined the culprit, you may be given a few ways to help relieve your pain. These could include certain exercises, anti-inflammatory medicines, steroid injections, pain medications, or more. But, these options don’t work for everyone, and many people find that the only true solution is surgery.
If you’ve been diagnosed with neural stenosis and none of the more conservative treatments are working, or it’s gotten so severe that your physician has recommended surgery, then you may be a candidate for spinal surgery at Laser Spine Institute. For a complimentary MRI or CT scan review, or to learn more about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures, contact us today.