What are lumbar foraminal stenosis treatments?

There are a number of nonsurgical treatments available for lumbar foraminal stenosis (narrowing). If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, you might be a little hazy on what it really means. Of course, your physician probably explained it to you, but you may have been distracted by your pain or confused by some of the medical jargon. Or, maybe you were stunned by this somewhat “scary-sounding” diagnosis, and your state of surprise overshadowed some of what your physician was saying.

First, you should pause and take a breath. Lumbar foraminal stenosis is very common. It happens in the lower back (lumbar spine) when the openings in the spinal vertebrae become narrower. This “narrowing” effect is caused by the presence of tissue that doesn’t belong there, such as a herniated disc, inflamed ligament or bone spur. Most often, these conditions result from degenerative changes in the spine that can’t be prevented — changes that simply take place gradually as you get older.

Now what?

Lumbar foraminal stenosis does not require treatment by default. When it happens, many people don’t even feel it. But, if a partially blocked foramen touches a nerve root that is passing through it, the nerve can become irritated and begin sending unpredictable signals that cause varying degrees of pain, muscle weakness and tingling sensations. Symptoms like these are probably what prompted you to see your physician in the first place.

If you need help in managing your discomfort, have a talk with your physician. You’ll probably be relieved to find out that surgery will be off the table, at least for now and most likely for the foreseeable future. In fact, the majority of people who are diagnosed with lumbar foraminal stenosis never need surgery. That’s because nonsurgical treatments can be very effective. Your physician can help you find the best approach for you, which may be a combination of the following foraminal stenosis treatments:

  • Low-impact exercise
  • Stretches and yoga
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
  • Corticosteroid injections

If it turns out that you’re in the minority

With all of that said, lumbar foraminal stenosis can be treated surgically if the discomfort is severe and nothing seems to help. If you’ve reached that point, you may want to speak with the experts at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages over open neck or back surgery.^

To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today.