Strictly speaking, it can be difficult to implement a foraminal stenosis prevention plan. While there are external factors that can contribute to or accelerate the onset of foraminal stenosis, in most cases, this source of neck and back pain frequently accompanies the natural aging process, making prevention difficult. So, what exactly is stenosis and what are your options?
Foraminal Stenosis Definition
The terms “spinal stenosis” or “foraminal stenosis” refer to the gradual narrowing of a canal or opening in the spinal vertebrae. Most commonly exhibited in the lumbar spine (in the lower back), this condition can become painful when the passageways that protect nerves in the spinal column become constricted, leading to nerve compression. Foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramen – small holes between the vertebrae where nerve roots exit the column.
Foraminal Stenosis Causes
The single most common cause of foraminal stenosis is aging. Clearly, this makes foraminal stenosis prevention difficult, as we can’t stave off growing older. However, there are other sources of spine deterioration that can also lead to stenosis, such as:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Osteoarthritis, including facet disease
- Bone spurs, or osteophytes (see: osteophyte definition)
- Injury – traumatic or otherwise
- Disease or infection
Foraminal Stenosis Prevention
While we are unable to prevent getting older, maintaining a strong and healthy back can help limit – or at least slow – natural spine deterioration. For example, obesity often leads to stenosis because the burden of supporting excess body fat strains the back, leading to muscle inflammation and nerve irritation. Conversely, regular exercise with proper stretching strengthens the back and is a great prevention technique. Quitting smoking, maintaining good posture, and keeping active are all other good prevention exercises.
In the event that foraminal stenosis is behind your discomfort, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive, outpatient endoscopic spine procedures for managing your pain. We are happy to provide you with a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and answer all of your questions on foraminal stenosis prevention.