It is estimated that as many as 80% of us will experience some form of back or neck pain at some point in our lifetimes. Foraminal stenosis is a completely precise term that refers to the pinching of a nerve inside the foramen of the backbone. However, this term is oftentimes used interchangeably with spinal stenosis, which is a more general condition that foraminal stenosis falls under. It can be one cause of back and neck pain. It affects your vertebrae (the bones of your back), narrowing the openings within those bones where the spinal cord and nerves pass through. But they may not know that a condition called Foraminal stenosis – which can cause tingling in the arms and legs or even problems walking. Foraminal stenosis is a specific type of spinal stenosis according to Dr. S. Karunakaran best spine surgeon at Global Hospital at Chennai India.

Symptoms of pinched nerves because of foraminal stenosis range depending on which part of your backbone is affected. You’re much more likely to develop foraminal stenosis and pinched nerves as you age. Bone growths in and around your foramen can also pinch the nerves running through. Bone spurs form due to injury or degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, says Dr. S Karunakaran endoscopic spine surgeon. Foraminal stenosis grading done by him reads your MRIs level of narrowing of your foramen.

  • grade 0 = no foraminal stenosis
  • grade 1 = moderate stenosis and not using  evidence of physical change in the never root
  • grade 2 = moderate stenosis without physical changes in the nerve root
  • grade 3 = extreme foraminal stenosis showing nerve root collapse

Further Dr. S Karunakaran said, “The decision to proceed with surgery should never be taken lightly. Foraminal stenosis surgical procedure should not be attempted until months of conservative treatment methods were exhausted. The exception to this rule would be if the stenosis is so tremendous that it is causing nerve death. Even once conservative measures have been exhausted, some patients may choose to live with their symptoms if they are not affecting their quality of life. Once an affected person complains about the inability to walk for lengths of time without sitting to relieve pain, they’re usually at a level wherein surgical intervention might likely benefit them.”

Managing the signs of your spinal stenosis is an ongoing attempt, but it may help to reduce the need for surgical procedure. It also helps to lessen the risks of excessive injuries on your back when engaged in physical activity due to weakened back muscle and stressed spine. Over time best spine surgeon at Global Hospital at Chennai India has built one of the most accurate diagnostic studies in India. This is why he achieves the level of results he does. “Certain positions or movements can cause a frustrating level of discomfort for patients with foraminal stenosis,” Dr. S Karunakaran explains. “Various other back conditions can lead to similar symptoms, so visiting a spine specialist can help pinpoint this diagnosis, which is really crucial if you’re experiencing lingering, nagging, back pain, numbness and/or weakness. Foraminal stenosis can really hamper your ability to just enjoy your life.”

Tips for treatment given by Dr. S Karunakaran specialized in spine surgery
If diagnosed early, conservative, non-surgical approaches usually work, Dr. Karunakaran says. Some of these treatments often can be done at home and include: 

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or prescription versions, which decrease inflammation
  • Activity changes
  • Physical therapy and prescribed exercises
  • Epidural cortisone injections, which are administered in a doctor’s office

Sometimes conservative measures don’t adequately lessen a patient’s pain or discomfort from foraminal stenosis, however. If that happens, Dr. Karunakaran endoscopic spine surgeon considers a minimally invasive surgery known as an endoscopic foraminotomy. During this procedure, surgeons insert a small metal tube into a tiny incision in the patient’s back. Other tools inserted into this tube remove debris such as bone spurs, scar tissue or ligament overgrowth that’s causing the foraminal stenosis.


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