Understanding right foraminal narrowing

Right foraminal narrowing, also called foraminal stenosis, occurs when an anatomical abnormality causes a foramen on the right side of a vertebra to become narrower. Foramina are the open passageways on either side of each vertebra that allow spinal nerves to exit the spinal cord and send sensory and motor signals throughout the rest of the body.

Degenerative spine conditions like a herniated disc, a bulging disc, bone spurs or spondylolisthesis are the primary reason that the foramina become narrower. While foraminal stenosis is not in and of itself painful, a narrowed foramen often exerts pressure on a nearby spinal nerve, which can lead to the painful symptoms outlined below.

Unilateral foraminal narrowing symptoms

While bilateral neural foraminal narrowing (on both sides of a vertebra) is possible, it is more common for one foramen of a left-right pair to cause neural compression. This could lead to a variety of symptoms depending on which level of the spine is affected. If the right side is affected, you may experience the following:

  • Cervical spine (neck). Right foraminal narrowing can lead to pain or tingling that begins in the neck and travels down the right arm and into the right hand.
  • Thoracic spine (middle back). Although less common than cervical or lumbar stenosis, thoracic stenosis can cause a cramping or pins-and-needles sensation around the right side of the chest, rib cage and kidneys.
  • Lumbar spine (lower back). The lower back’s flexibility and weight-bearing responsibility make it especially prone to foraminal stenosis. Weakness, spasms or an electric, radiating pain may be felt in the right hip, buttock, leg and foot.

Right foraminal narrowing treatment options

If your doctor has confirmed a diagnosis of right foraminal narrowing, he or she may suggest a conservative treatment regimen of pain medication, intermittent rest, hot-cold therapy and stretching. If weeks or months of these methods do not help your symptoms to decrease, consider contacting Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^

The minimally invasive outpatient procedures at Laser Spine Institute have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain. Our board-certified surgeons+ use a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques in order to alleviate symptoms while resulting in less bleeding and a lower risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.^

To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a no-cost MRI review.* We are here to help guide you on your journey through wellness.