What is Foraminal Stenosis?
Foraminal stenosis, a branch of spinal stenosis, is the condition in which the space between the spine’s bones – known as foramen – become tighter or narrower. This is problematic as the foramen act as passages for nerves that connect the spinal cord with the rest of the body. As the foramen become tighter, the nerves become pinched, leading to several symptoms throughout the body, including weakness, numbness, pain, and more.
Foraminal Stenosis Symptoms
Foraminal stenosis leading to pinched nerves symptoms depend on the type of foraminal stenosis an individual is experiencing. This type is defined by the affected part of the spine.
– Cervical Stenosis: The tightening of the foramen near the neck. When nerves along the neck become pinched, this causes burning sensations in the neck and along the shoulder and arms.
– Thoracic Stenosis: The tightening of the foramen along the upper half of the back. Pinched nerves here will lead to numbness and pain in the back and around the chest.
– Lumbar Stenosis: The tightening of the foramen along the lower back. This is the most common type of foraminal stenosis, and this can lead to pinched nerves that cause weakness, numbness, and pain in the legs, feet, and hips. This pain is also known as sciatica.
Foraminal Stenosis Causes
Age is the leading cause for foraminal stenosis leading to pinched nerves. Many years of bad posture, poor diet, and bodily wear and tear slowly force the spine to tighten the foramen. Other causes of this condition include:
– Herniated disc
– Cysts and tumors
– Abnormal bone growths around the foramen
How is Foraminal Stenosis treated?
Physical therapy is a successful method of treatment for foraminal stenosis and pinched nerves. With exercises and stretches designed to strengthen and stabilize the spine, this can help remove the pressure off the nerve roots and spine.