Alternative treatments for foraminal narrowing

Foraminal narrowing is a spine condition in which the foramina — the canals near the spinal cord that allow nerve pathways to travel from the spine to the brain — begin to narrow. This is often due to the natural degeneration of the spine or the development of another spine condition that is protruding into the foraminal canal, such as a bone spur or bulging disc.

While foraminal narrowing does not cause any symptoms, symptoms of pain and discomfort could occur if one of the nerve roots gets trapped in the constricting canal. When this happens, the nerve will send pain signals that sometimes extend from the spine to the nearest extremity. For example, if a nerve root is pinched near the cervical spine (neck), it may produce pain in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand.

Pain relief for foraminal narrowing

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your physician to diagnose the source of your pain and help you find a treatment that fits your needs. Many patients can find lasting pain relief through several types of nonsurgical treatment, such as:

  • Chiropractic — Chiropractors believe that the condition of the spine and nervous system influences how the body functions overall. Chiropractic spinal adjustments may help realign the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, and could temporarily reduce nerve compression.
  • Aromatherapy — Inhaling the scented molecules from essential oils such as chamomile, marjoram, lavender, St. John’s Wort and Helichrysum may help alleviate symptoms by interacting with the limbic system. The limbic system components control your pain reflex, emotions, hormones and memory storage.
  • Inversion therapy — Proponents of inversion therapy believe hanging upside down or at an angle on an inversion table can decompress the spinal structures while improving blood flow, flexibility and posture.
  • Acupuncture — Small stainless steel needles are inserted into energy points of the body, usually near nerves, in an attempt unblock the channels of energy throughout the body and heal illnesses.

Another treatment option to consider for foraminal narrowing

You may have tried alternative and conservative treatments for your foraminal narrowing symptoms. If these were unsuccessful in reducing your pain, a minimally invasive procedure offered at Laser Spine Institute may help. We offer a variety of procedures, including foraminotomy, a procedure that removes the tissue or bone blocking the foramina using state-of-the-art techniques, and discectomy, a procedure that removes a damaged disc that is pinching a nerve root.

During these procedures, the surgeon will release pressure on the pinched nerve root through a small incision in the spine. The minimally invasive incision made during our procedures helps to reduce the risk of infection and shorten the recovery length* when compared to traditional open back surgery. In some cases of severe spine damage, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc or vertebra altogether and stabilize the spine using an artificial disc or bone grafts made from the patient’s own body to reduce the risk of failed back surgery syndrome.

For more information on the safer, more effective procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today and ask our spine care team for an MRI review.