Foraminal Narrowing of the Lumbar Spine

Foraminal Narrowing of the Lumbar Spine

Foraminal narrowing of the lumbar spine is typically a gradual, degenerative process that may ultimately result in lower back pain and neuropathic symptoms in the lower body, including sciatica. Foraminal narrowing, also known as foraminal stenosis, can also go entirely undetected if the passages do not narrow to the point that they constrict the nerve roots or the spinal cord. Treatment options for this condition vary depending on the source and severity of the stenosis, but a series of conservative, non-surgical treatments often provide sufficient pain relief.

The lower back and lumber region of the spine

In the cervical (upper), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) spine, nerves exit the spinal column through canals that exist between the vertebrae. These narrow canals (or passageways) are known as the foramina. As the body ages, the foramina are prone to becoming clogged with a variety of spinal material that has degenerated because of the wear, tear and pressure that is placed on the neck and back. Some of the most common sources of foraminal stenosis include:

  • Inflamed soft tissue
  • Misaligned vertebrae
  • Herniated disc material
  • Bone spurs
  • Calcified ligaments

As previously mentioned, our spinal anatomy naturally and unavoidably begins to degenerate over time, leading to common spinal conditions like herniated discs and bone spurs. When a degenerative spine condition results in nerve compression in the foramen, decompression treatment may be required.


In many cases, foraminal stenosis can be managed with a series of conservative techniques that are designed to alleviate pressure on the lower back and allow the body to adjust. Treatments include pain medication, exercise and hot or cold compresses, which have proven extremely effective for managing pain.

In the event that your lower back pain does not abate, consider the benefits of a minimally invasive, outpatient spine procedure from Laser Spine Institute. Contact us today to learn about our procedures. We utilize state-of-the-art technology to help our patients find meaningful relief from neck and back pain.