Cervical foraminal narrowing

Cervical foraminal narrowing is the narrowing of the foraminal canal in the cervical spine. The foraminal canal is a small passageway on either side of the vertebrae that allows nerves to exit the spine. When this canal narrows, a nerve could become pinched or trapped, resulting in chronic pain and symptoms.

Pain associated with cervical foraminal narrowing may develop gradually over several years. In its early stages, discomfort may arise only occasionally and may be associated with a particular activity, such as riding a bicycle or sitting at a desk for an extended period of time. Symptoms may initially be misinterpreted as a muscle strain in the areas of the neck or upper back. However, these mild symptoms can transform into pain that affects multiple areas of the body beyond just the neck.

Areas affected by cervical foraminal narrowing

As the spine grows older, it becomes more prone to inflammation or deterioration. Joints can become enlarged, and discs can lose their elasticity and begin to bulge or herniate. This degeneration is not always a cause for concern. In many cases, people will feel a mild aching and stiffness in their neck or back, and only if nerve root or spinal cord activity becomes compressed will the most serious symptoms arise.

If a nerve root becomes compressed due to foraminal narrowing, it can produce debilitating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. If the foramina within the cervical (neck) region become restricted and nerve roots are pinched, it can produce symptoms in the following areas of the body:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Fingers
  • Upper back

Treatment for cervical foraminal narrowing

In general, chronic symptoms associated with cervical foraminal narrowing can be managed using pain medication, exercise, corticosteroid injections or other conservative methods. However, if your physician determines that conservative methods have been ineffective, you may consider contacting Laser Spine Institute to learn about the benefits of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are performed using state-of-the-art technology.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery eliminates the need for a large incision that cuts through the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine. Instead, our procedures are performed through a small incision in the front or back of the neck, depending on the type of surgery being performed. Because our incisions do not disrupt surrounding muscles, our patients experience a shorter recovery time§ and lower risk of infection and complication than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery.

Whether you need a minimally invasive decompression surgery to remove just a small piece of a bone spur or damaged disc, or you need a minimally invasive stabilization surgery to replace a damaged disc or vertebra with an implant disc or bone graft, Laser Spine Institute can offer a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Contact us today for a review of your MRI or CT scan.