Risk factors and treatments for foraminal narrowing

Foraminal narrowing, also called foraminal stenosis, occurs when the foraminal canal becomes obstructed or blocked by a damaged component of the spine. The foraminal canal is the passageway that allows nerves to exit the spine, and any obstruction in the canal could result in a pinched nerve. The most common cause of foraminal narrowing is a herniated disc, bulging disc or bone spur, as well as other degenerative spine conditions.

Foraminal narrowing symptoms range from local pain and discomfort to debilitating pain that radiates into the nearby extremities. Any symptoms of this nature should be checked by a doctor or spine care specialist to determine the source of the pain and the best option for treatment. Because foraminal narrowing is often caused by a degenerative spine condition, there are certain lifestyle risk factors described in the following article that may increase the chance of developing this condition.

Foraminal narrowing risk factors

One of the primary causes of foraminal narrowing is the natural aging process. While aging is unavoidable, there are a few risk factors that can expedite the process of developing foraminal narrowing. These factors include:

  • Excess weight gain
  • Smoking or abusing alcohol
  • Sedentary lifestyles
  • Occupations that require constant sitting, standing, driving, bending, lifting and twisting
  • Regular participation in high-impact sports like football or hockey

While avoiding these risk factors does not guarantee that you will avoid developing foraminal narrowing, it could help postpone the onset of this condition.

Treatments available for foraminal narrowing

If you have developed foraminal narrowing despite your best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent its onset, there are several treatment options available. Many patients are able to find relief through conservative means, such as pain medications, physical therapy, hot and cold compresses, corticosteroid injections and chiropractic care.

If discomfort persists despite several weeks or months of these therapies, the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute may provide relief. Contact us to learn about our procedures and how they have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery can relieve pressure on the trapped nerve by removing a small portion of the damaged disc or bone spur that is obstructing the foraminal canal.

This will provide more room in the canal for nerves to travel without impacting the stability of the spine. However, if the entire disc or vertebra is damaged and is no longer able to support the spine, one of our board-certified surgeons+ will remove it altogether and replace it with an artificial disc and/or bone grafts through a minimally invasive stabilization surgery.

Both of these foraminal narrowing procedures offer patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery^ by using a small incision and avoiding the tearing or detachment of the muscles surrounding the spine. Because of our minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complication compared to patients who choose traditional spine surgery.^ This has allowed us to earn a patient satisfaction score of 98.^

To learn more about what sets us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and how we can help you find the relief you have been searching for, reach out to our dedicated team today. Through a free MRI review,* we are able to determine if you are a potential candidate for the outpatient foraminal narrowing procedures performed at our state-of-the-art facilities.