Lumbar stenosis affecting the foraminal canals

Lumbar stenosis is another term for spinal stenosis of the lower back. A specific type of this condition is called foraminal stenosis, which affects the small openings in the spinal column that allow nerve roots to exit to the body. Like other degenerative spine conditions, lumbar foraminal stenosis develops over time due to the natural aging and wear and tear of the spine. Patients with lumbar stenosis may begin to feel symptoms in the lower back of stiffness or mild pain when bending.

To understand this condition and the best treatment options, it helps to learn more about the basic anatomy of the spine and how the spinal column can change over time.

Causes and symptoms of lumbar foraminal stenosis

The spinal column protects the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the rest of the body, sending important sensory and motor information. Nerve roots exit the spine at each level, traveling out between two small holes, called foramina. A number of age-related conditions, including bulging discs, herniated discs and bone spurs can constrict these already tight passages and cause nerve compression, resulting in foraminal stenosis.

This condition is so common in the lumbar, or lower, region of the spinal column because this area supports so much of the weight of the upper body while being flexible enough for movement. Foraminal stenosis in the lumbar spine can cause the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Shooting pain into the hips, buttocks and legs
  • Muscle weakness and cramping in the lower body that causes mobility issues
  • Tingling, or pins-and-needles sensations

Treatment options available for lumbar stenosis

While many forms of lumbar stenosis can be effectively treated with conservative methods like medication or physical therapy, some cases may require surgical treatment to find pain relief. Patients will often delay surgery because of the risks and difficulties involved with traditional open spine procedures, but there are other options. Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures for foraminal stenosis and other conditions.

Laser Spine Institute performs two minimally invasive procedures, foraminotomy and laminotomy, that are often recommended for the treatment of lumbar stenosis, including lumbar foraminal stenosis. For more information on how our team at Laser Spine Institute might be able to ease your chronic back pain and symptoms, please contact us today.

We are happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.