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Foraminal Stenosis: An Overview - Spine Center of Texas
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Foraminal Stenosis is a condition that occurs when the passageways through which the nerves extend from the spinal cord to the rest of the body become narrowed. Foraminal Stenosis is most often found in the cervical (neck) region but can occur in the lumbar (low back) area. The hallmark of Foraminal Stenosis is intermittent pain that develops gradually over the course of many years. Pain is triggered by a nerve on one side of the spinal canal that is compressed and can be present in one area or radiate to the arms or legs. Activities that require frequently holding the head in an extended position are linked to the disorder.

Foraminal Stenosis happens because of a variety of factors, such as:

  • Bone spurs
  • Disc herniation
  • Ligament thickening
  • Swelling of facet joints
  • Sudden injuries or repetitive trauma
  • Family history
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Symptoms of Foraminal Stenosis include:

  • Sciatic pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Limitations in performing activities of daily living without pain
  • Unexplained symptoms in shoulders, bask, hips, buttocks, and extremities
  • Symptoms recur when walking and sitting

A physician will determine the presence of Foraminal Stenosis by conducting a review of medical history and current symptoms and performing a physical exam. Tests such as an MRI, CT scan with a myelogram, and x-ray are used to confirm the diagnosis.

The treatment plan for individuals with Foraminal Stenosis often begins with a conservative approach of medication for pain and inflammation. Physical therapy to provide traction, instruction on activity modification, and bracing when necessary may give relief from the chronic pain. Unfortunately, few non-surgical interventions adequate symptom resolution. Surgical options to discuss with your surgeon are foraminotomy, discectomy, lateral lumbar interbody fusion, anterior cervical discectomy with fusion (ACDF), and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF).

If you have been diagnosed with foraminal stenosis and would like to find out about the treatment options we provide, please call us at our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.