Foraminal Stenosis FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

A diagnosis of foraminal stenosis might sound complicated at first, but before you get overwhelmed, arm yourself with some knowledge about the condition. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about foraminal stenosis in this convenient list.

Q. What is foraminal stenosis?

A. This condition involves the shrinking of the intervertebral foramina, openings between the bones of the spine through which nerve roots pass to innervate the entire body. Narrowing of these canals can eventually pinch nerves and lead to localized or radiating symptoms.

Q. What causes foraminal stenosis?

A. Foraminal stenosis can be caused by a number of factors. One of the most common is the development of bone spurs, an issue often associated with arthritis of the spine. Another is the presence of a bulging or herniated disc. The displaced disc material can place pressure on surrounding nerves or block a foramen, interfering with the passage of the nerves.

Q. What are the symptoms?

A. When nerves are impinged by the narrowing of a foramen, the symptoms vary. Most often, the symptoms appear further down the nerve path in more remote locations. For example, a pinched nerve in the lower back can produce pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs or feet.

Q. What are some treatment options?

A. Physicians generally recommend that patients start with non-surgical, conservative treatment options. A typical treatment regimen might include:

  • Taking pain medications
  • Placing ice packs and/or heating pads on the affected area
  • Participating in physical therapy
  • Performing certain stretches regularly
  • Getting moderate exercise

In most patients, a combination of these approaches will improve their condition by mitigating their symptoms.

Q. Will I need surgery?

A. A few patients find that even after months of conservative treatments, their pain and other symptoms haven’t been meaningfully reduced. This group of foraminal stenosis patients may want to examine their surgical options.

At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons perform several types of minimally invasive surgical procedures that can address foraminal stenosis and its symptoms. To learn more about our procedures and why they are an effective alternative to conventional open back surgery, contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any questions this FAQ didn’t address.