What is neural foraminal stenosis?

Neural foraminal stenosis is a narrowing of the openings along the spine designed to allow the passage of spinal nerves. The narrowing can pinch and compress the nerves, causing a variety of symptoms depending on the nerves involved. This condition has various causes and is usually treated by physicians such as neurologists and spine surgeons. It is important to receive treatment for neural foraminal stenosis because this condition can cause serious complications in some patients.

Anatomically, the term "foramen" or "foramina" in the plural refers to any type of opening. The spinal column is carefully designed to provide maximum protection for the spinal cord, with openings to allow the spinal cord to communicate with the rest of the body. These openings, known as the neural formina, can be seen on either side of each vertebra, providing a pathway for spinal nerves.

Also known as neural foramen narrowing, neural foramen stenosis may be congenital in some patients, but is more commonly acquired. As people age, it is common for the spinal cord to degenerate. The narrowing can occur as a result of the growth of bone spurs and other abnormalities. It can also be linked to damage to the discs in the spine. Certain degenerative diseases are also associated with neural foraminal stenosis.

Patients may notice symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning, and stabbing pains. A doctor can determine which spinal nerves are involved by interviewing the patient to find out where the pain is experienced. Spinal nerves correspond to specific areas of the body and people will experience pain within specific dermatomes, areas served by individual spinal nerves. Once a doctor has identified the dermatomes involved, they can be traced back to your spinal nerve roots.

Medical imaging studies may also be helpful in identifying narrowing of the neural foramina. They can also provide information about other types of spinal damage and the extent of spinal damage. All of this information can be used to develop a treatment plan. Some options include surgery, implantation of pain management devices, physical therapy, and management of the underlying disease processes that contribute to the narrowing of the holes.

When discussing treatment options for neural foraminal stenosis, patients may find it helpful to ask about prognosis with different types of treatments. This can help patients better understand the options they choose. It is also important to be aware of the risks and complications associated with the treatment of neural foraminal stenosis, as these issues may be important to the decision-making process.

Go up