Left foraminal narrowing

Foraminal narrowing, or stenosis, is the constriction or narrowing of the foramina — small passageways in the spinal column that protect nerve roots as they enter and exit the spinal canal. The diagnosis of left foraminal narrowing, as the name suggests, means that one of the canals on the left side of the spinal column has become constricted, usually as a result of age or the development of another spine condition like a herniated disc or bone spur.

Before you can treat left foraminal narrowing, your physician must first determine the cause of the condition. Typically, another degenerative spine disease has developed and caused a small part of the spine to move out of alignment, thus narrowing the available space in the foraminal canal. Once this condition has been identified, your physician can recommend treatment options designed to relieve the pain and symptoms caused by the source of your foraminal narrowing.

Causes of foraminal narrowing

Each vertebra in the spine has two foramina, one located on either side.

As the spine ages and gradually deteriorates over time, the discs and joints of the spine may break down and move out of alignment. In some cases, conditions like a bulging disc or bone spurs may develop, pushing into the empty space in the foraminal canal. This is called foraminal canal stenosis or foraminal narrowing.

Because foraminal narrowing is often caused by the degeneration of the spine, it commonly develops in the highly flexible areas of the spine, like the neck (cervical region) and lower back (lumbar region). Conditions that may cause left foraminal narrowing include:

  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet disease
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Thickened ligaments

Treatment for left foraminal narrowing

Treatment for left foraminal narrowing is normally first attempted conservatively, with a variety of nonsurgical techniques. Pain medication, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, low-impact exercises, stretching and hot/cold compresses all can be used to alleviate pain.

If the foraminal stenosis is severe and your symptoms haven’t reduced after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, your physician may recommend spine surgery.

The minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 60,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Many patients choose our minimally invasive procedures because they are safer and more effective than traditional open back surgery. This is because we only require a small incision and no muscle disruption, unlike traditional spine surgery that requires a large incision and the cutting and tearing of the surrounding muscles. Because we take a minimally invasive approach to the spine, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time§ and lower risk of complication.

Depending on the cause and severity of your left foraminal stenosis, our team may recommend that you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. To start your journey to pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute and request a review of your MRI report or CT scan so we can begin discussing your treatment options with you.