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All You Need to Know about Foraminal Stenosis?

It is a form of spinal stenosis in which nerve roots are compressed. This condition occurs when the neural foramina, the small openings between your spine, narrow or tighten.This type of spinal stenosis is known as neural foraminal stenosis. About 17.5% of people who suffer from severe foraminal stenosis will develop symptoms.

Compressed neural foramina can result in pain, numbness, or weakness of the nerve roots exiting the spinal column. A nerve root that is pinched on one side of the body will typically experience symptoms. For example, left neural foraminal stenosis typically results in symptoms in the left arm, back, or leg.  

While some people do not experience symptoms of neural foraminal stenosis and do not require treatment, severe cases may result in paralysis. On the other hand, severe cases may require surgery. 

Causes of Foraminal Stenosis

As the age passes, the nerves in the foramen region become compressed, resulting in foraminal stenosis. It may cause nerve death, which is a life-threatening condition. The sensory, nervous and motor system is disturbed as a result of this damage. The primary cause of foraminal stenosis, a subtype of spinal stenosis, along with injuries, is the degenerative conditions. Other possible causes of foraminal stenosis are as follows:

  • Tumors

Abnormal growth of cells or the presence of osteophytes in the spinal area may develop foraminal stenosis. This is a rare condition but may cause crowding in the spinal cord.

  • Musculoskeletal Disorders

Some deteriorating diseases damage the structure of the spine. Such conditions include Paget's Paget's disease and ankylosing spondylosis. According to the premierpain centers, they also damage the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the spinal cord and affect proper functioning due to foraminal stenosis.

  • Scar Injuries

Injuries of the back, like fractures and herniated discs, may destroy the structure of the spinal cord, causing foraminal stenosis.

  • Narrow Structure of the Spine

Naturally, the spinal bone has a narrower structure towards the lower back. It naturally attracts lumbar foraminal stenosis more than other types.

  • Wear out Bones

With the passing of age, the tendency for bones to wear out also increases. It increases the chances of foraminal stenosis in the older population.

  • Scoliosis

Some medical conditions, such as scoliosis, are an easy target for foraminal stenosis. It happens because there is some natural deformation in the structure of spinal bones and discs.

Symptoms of Foraminal Stenosis

Not all individuals who have foraminal stenosis show the same symptoms, says Dr William Moore. The signs and indications may vary depending on the type and causes of foraminal stenosis. However, it is a common observation that the symptoms aggravate gradually with time.

Most individuals experience pain, touch sensitivity, numbness and muscle weakness, says Dr Muhammad Zulqarnain.

Types of Foraminal Stenosis

Foraminal stenosis may occur in any part of the spinal cord, says Dr. Rao Ali. Depending on the location, foraminal stenosis is divided into the following types.

  • Cervical foraminal stenosis-Cervical vertebrae ( second most common type)

  • Thoracic foraminal stenosis-Thoracic spine

  • Coccygeal spine-Tailbone 

  • Lumbar foraminal stenosis-Lumbar spine (most common type)

Diagnosis of Foraminal Stenosis

To offer an effective treatment, the healthcare providers at the pain clinic Fort Worth Evaluate the patient through proper examination. He may enquire about the following considerations

  • Do you feel pain

  • What is the location of the pain

  • What movements ease the pain

  • What activities may trigger the pain

The pain physicians in Dallas may use both techniques of diagnosis, including visual and hands-on practice. The different diagnostic tests that may be recommended involve the following:

  • Motion tests

  • Blood tests

  • Imaging tests like x-rays, MRIs, computer tomography or electromyography.

At-home Treatment For Foraminal Stenosis

Some healthcare experts at the pain medicine clinic Farmers Branch suggest adopting some home treatments for the management of foraminal stenosis. They include some pain relief medications, icing, exercises, a healthy lifestyle, and the use of assistive devices.

  • Conservative Treatment Approaches

The healthcare providers at Pain Control Clinic Waxahachie offer several conservative treatments that may improve stenosis to maximum output. The different options include

  • Medications: NSAIDs, corticosteroids, relaxants and prescription drugs.

  • Physical therapies

  • Braces

  • Correct spine alignment practices

  • Lifestyle modifications

  • Cardiovascular activities

  • Surgical Interventions

If the medication and conventional treatment are not improving patients' health, the experts at Pain Management in Dallas may perform a minimally invasive procedure known as a foraminotomy. In this procedure, the deteriorated portion of spinal discs or bulging bones is removed by small incisions. It takes a very few days to recover and ultimately return to everyday routine life.

Basic Surgical Procedures

Here are two basic surgical procedures which spine surgeons can perform to treat foraminal stenosis reasonably. 

  • Laminotomy

A laminotomy is a procedure where the lamina, the arched or flat part of the vertebral arch, is removed from the back of the spinal cord, in small sections on one or both sides of the spine, leaving small openings between the laminae.

  • Foraminotomy

This type of surgery is used to remove the overgrown ligaments, bone spurs, and disc fragments from the neural foramen. This helps in enhancing the space around the neural foramen and also releases the compression of the spinal nerves.


When foraminal stenosis causes symptoms, the outlook can still vary. Most cases of foraminal stenosis do not cause symptoms. As long as you don't have any symptoms of this condition, there's little or no cause for concern (your healthcare provider can tell you which is valid for you specifically).

Minor signs may respond well to treatment and stop. Some people may have symptoms that worsen slowly, thanks to therapy. When foraminal stenosis becomes severe enough, it usually needs more direct treatments (such as surgery or catheter-based procedures). That's usually to prevent foraminal stenosis from worsening and causing permanent nerve damage or other complications.

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.