When to seek a foraminal stenosis diagnosis

Foraminal stenosis is a spine condition that describes the narrowing of one or more of the foraminal canals, which are openings between the vertebrae that allow nerve roots to exit the spinal cord and travel to the rest of the body.

Foraminal stenosis often develops as a result of another degenerative spine condition, such as a herniated disc or bone spur. Often, symptoms of foraminal stenosis will begin gradually and may be mistaken as general muscle soreness. While symptoms may begin gradually and sporadically, they can worsen over time if left untreated. For this reason, it is important for you to understand the symptoms of foraminal stenosis and other spine conditions so you can know to seek diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms of foraminal stenosis

Recognizing the symptoms of foraminal stenosis can help you seek treatment for your pain before your symptoms become debilitating. The most common symptoms of foraminal narrowing include:

  • Chronic or intermittent neck or back pain
  • A burning pain that shoots into the shoulder, buttock or leg
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • A feeling of pins-and-needles
  • Muscular weakness, cramping or spasms

Since the foraminal canals allow nerves to leave the spine and travel to the extremities, nerve compression here can cause local pain near the spine and radiating symptoms that travel along the length of the nerve. If the pain you are experiencing lasts for more than a few days to a week, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. If you are given a foraminal stenosis diagnosis, your doctor can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that fits your needs.

Treatment after a foraminal stenosis diagnosis

Common conservative treatment methods for foraminal stenosis are rest, medication, low-impact exercise, lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or improving posture, and spinal injections to reduce inflammation and pain. If chronic symptoms persist after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery may be able to relieve your symptoms.

Our minimally invasive decompression procedures can help relieve pressure on a compressed nerve root by removing a portion of the disc or bone spur that has protruded into a foraminal canal. This is accomplished through a less than 1-inch incision that spares surrounding muscles. We also perform minimally invasive stabilization, which is our outpatient alternative to traditional open spinal fusion, in some more severe cases.

Laser Spine Institute patients can experience a safer and effective treatment and shorter recovery time^ than patients who undergo traditional open back surgery. For more information about how our minimally invasive spine surgery can treat foraminal stenosis, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today.

A member of our caring and dedicated team will be happy to help you receive a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.