Rarely will someone experiencing chronic neck or back pain actually come to a conclusion that he or she has foraminal stenosis. More often, because the symptoms of foraminal stenosis are similar to those of other degenerative spine conditions, the natural assumption would be that symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness are caused by a better known condition such as a herniated disc or bulging disc. However, if the primary symptom you’re experiencing is localized neck or back pain that worsens gradually over time, there is a chance that the openings along the spine where nerve roots exit have begun to narrow – which means foraminal stenosis could be present.
See your physician first
When experiencing chronic neck or back pain, regardless of the suspected source, it’s important to visit your physician as soon as possible. Be prepared to answer a wide range of diagnostic questions, including:
- Where does it hurt? The location of the pain is an important first clue.
- Is the pain constant or occasional? Pain experienced for longer than three months is called chronic. Pain experienced suddenly is called acute.
- When did the pain first occur? Pain with longer duration could be a sign of a serious injury or long-term degeneration.
- Is it a sharp pain, a radiating pain, a dull ache, numbness, tingling? The form the pain takes also is a clue to its origin.
- Have you performed any recent activity that might have caused or contributed to the pain? Repetitive motion or poor posture can cause different kinds of neck and lower back pain.
- Have you been injured recently? Muscle strain or ligament sprain are common causes of neck and back pain in the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine.
- Has anyone in your family experienced similar pain? Some causes of back and neck pain, such as degenerative disc disease, can be hereditary.
Treatment for foraminal stenosis
The primary conservative methods of treatment for foraminal stenosis are stretching exercises, behavior modification and epidural injections. However, if chronic symptoms persist after weeks or months of conservative treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the many benefits of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed using advanced technology.