Is foraminal stenosis treatment the same as treatment for foraminal narrowing?

When researching the different types of foraminal stenosis treatment, people often come across information about foraminal narrowing treatment and wonder if there’s any difference between the two. It’s common to feel confused, but the answer is relatively straightforward: Foraminal narrowing and foraminal stenosis are both names for the same condition. Therefore, treatment for foraminal narrowing and treatment for foraminal stenosis are the same.

What is foraminal stenosis?

Foraminal stenosis involves a gradual narrowing of the foramen, which are small openings between vertebrae through which nerve roots branch out to the rest of the body. When this space becomes narrower, nerves can become pinched, which can be painful. Nerve compression can also lead to tingling, muscle weakness, numbness and other neurological symptoms.

How is foraminal narrowing treated?

Because the symptoms of foraminal narrowing can be quite severe and long lasting, it may be necessary to find a way to manage them. The most common options for foraminal stenosis treatment include:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Activity modifications and periodic rest
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss, if applicable

Foraminal stenosis is often caused by a co-existing degenerative spine condition, such as a bone spur or herniated disc. As a result, it’s important to consider any other spinal issues that might be present when developing a treatment plan.

Many people find conservative therapies to be beneficial, although those with more severe foraminal stenosis may find that their symptoms persist even though they take medications, exercise and use other nonsurgical therapies. In these instances, surgery may be recommended to address the compression at its source. For instance, a surgeon may perform a foraminotomy to physically widen an obstructed opening in the spine, in turn creating more space for compressed nerves.

To learn more about surgical treatment for foraminal stenosis, you can contact Laser Spine Institute — the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. We can review* your MRI for free to help you determine if you’re a candidate for our outpatient procedures.