What does severe right foraminal narrowing mean?

Severe right foraminal narrowing, or stenosis, occurs when an opening (foramina) on the right-hand side of a spinal vertebra becomes partially or fully blocked by excess tissue, such as a bulging or herniated disc, inflamed facet joint, thickened ligament or bone spur. Because the foramen serve as passageways for nerve roots to exit the spinal cord and travel to distant areas of the body, it is important that these openings remain clear and unobstructed.

Symptoms of severe right foraminal narrowing

While foraminal narrowing is not always painful or problematic, a blockage could potentially create pressure on a sensitive spinal nerve. A compressed nerve on the right side of the spinal column can produce a number of symptoms depending on the level of the spine affected. For instance, severe right foraminal narrowing that causes nerve compression in the:

  • Neck (cervical spine) — can result in pain and tingling sensations that travel down the right arm into the right hand
  • Upper back (thoracic spine) — can cause muscle cramping and pins-and-needles sensations around the right-hand side of the chest, rib cage and kidneys
  • Lower back (lumbar spine) — can create electric shock-like pain, muscle weakness and spasms in the right buttock, hip, leg and foot

Treatment options for severe right foraminal narrowing

After receiving a diagnosis of severe right foraminal narrowing, most patients are advised to begin treatment conservatively with an individualized course of rest, pain medications, hot/cold therapy and exercise. Surgery may be considered if the symptoms do not improve after several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment.

If you’ve been diagnosed with severe right foraminal narrowing and are ready to explore your surgical treatment options, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our team can provide a free MRI review* to help you determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient surgery, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^