Foraminal stenosis symptoms are caused when vertebral openings (foramina) become narrow, effectively compressing and pinching the nerves passing through the openings on their way to the rest of the body.
This nerve disorder can result in a variety of problems, depending on the location of the nerve root being pinched. For example, foraminal stenosis in the L5 – S1 level can compress the sciatic nerve in the lower back. This can result in sciatica – an often intense, burning pain that travels to the buttocks, leg, calf, and foot. A pinched nerve in the neck, however, may be the cause of pain and muscle weakness in the shoulder, arm, and hand.
The most common foraminal stenosis symptoms include:
- Local pain
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Muscle weakness
- Traveling pain along the nerve
- The feeling of pins and needles or extreme heat
It is vital that a patient who is experiencing incontinence of the bladder or bowels, deep pain, or extreme muscle weakness go to the emergency room immediately. These symptoms could be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a potentially serious disorder that requires urgent medical attention.
More often than not, the symptoms of foraminal stenosis can be managed with nonsurgical treatments prescribed by a family physician. Only in the event that these conservative options have proven ineffective or the symptoms are debilitating, will a physician recommend surgery.
The good news is that you have options. At Laser Spine Institute, an award-winning team of surgeons use a minimally invasive endoscopic approach to stenosis, called a foraminotomy. Unlike traditional open back surgery, our procedure relieves compression by using the latest techniques and lasers. The result is less pain, a shorter recovery, and a higher success rate – all while sending the patient home the same day of surgery. To learn more about foraminotomy, and for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, contact Laser Spine Institute today.