Neural foraminal stenosis is a condition that affects the neural foramina, which are openings in the spine that allow nerves to pass through. It is caused by narrowing of the foramina, which can lead to compression of the nerves and cause pain and other symptoms.
It is most commonly seen in people over the age of 50, and is usually the result of age-related degeneration or trauma. It can also be caused by herniated discs, tumors, or arthritis. Treatment for neural foraminal stenosis usually involves physical therapy, medications, or surgery, depending on the severity of the condition.
If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications and even permanent nerve damage. Understanding and recognizing the signs and symptoms of neural foraminal stenosis is key to successful management and treatment.
Causes of Neural Foraminal Stenosis
This condition cannot be acquired because of the weather or the different things people do. Here are just some of the causes of the condition:
- Congenital – People are born with this condition. Most of the time, people do not realize that they have this condition until the passageway already becomes too narrow for the spinal nerves to pass through.
- Age – Naturally, the spinal cord will begin to weaken and become narrower as people age. This is the main reason why more people diagnosed with this condition are over 40 years old.
- Bone Spurs and Abnormalities – There are certain conditions wherein extra bones begin to grow. Certain conditions may change the growth rate of the bones. This may affect the spinal cord tremendously.
- Degenerative Diseases – Degenerative diseases are diseases that grow worse over time. If the diseases are related to bone problems, people will likely develop neural foraminal stenosis after some time.
- Repetitive Activity – There are times when people develop this condition because of doing a certain activity all over and over again.
- Obesity – There is a good reason why people are supposed to keep their weight normal. It is not only because they are required to look good but because their weight is normal, they can be sure that they can be safe from different possible diseases that being overweight can bring.
These are just some of the possible causes of the disease. There are still other possible causes that you should know more about to stop the possibility of acquiring this disease.
Diagnosis of Neural Foraminal Stenosis
There are times when people already go to the doctor for the first sign of the various symptoms that they have never felt before, but some assume that the symptoms will go away on their own.
This is not true for this condition at all, and for those who are feeling some of the symptoms mentioned below, it will be best to schedule a check-up with your doctor immediately. Surprisingly, this condition is hard to diagnose, probably because the symptoms are very slow in taking place sometimes, but the symptoms are not consistent.
For a formal diagnosis to occur, the doctor will ask the patient to give their recent information and ask about their medical history. Some tests will also have to be done, including diagnostic imaging, to diagnose this condition.
Symptoms of Neural Foraminal Stenosis
For the disease to become noticed, it is just normal for the symptoms to start taking place. Here are just some of the symptoms that might manifest because of the condition:
- Numbness – There will be times when some parts of the body will be hard to move or cannot be felt at all.
- Tingling Sensation – This is similar to holding a certain position after a long period of time and finally changing the position; the tingling sensation might be felt from time to time, even when certain areas of the body are not constrained at all.
- Muscle Weakness – This is one symptom that will easily catch people’s attention because activities will become restrained once the condition becomes more apparent.
- Loss of Bladder and Bowel Movement – Some people only try to go to the doctor when they realize that they cannot control their bladder and bowel movements anymore.
- Certain Pain – Sometimes, people feel that their extremities are painful for no reason at all. This may be one of the symptoms of Neural Foraminal Stenosis. Usually, pain can only be felt when nerves are currently being strained in the passageway.
Other than these symptoms mentioned above, there may still be other symptoms related to this disease. Once you have noticed that you are feeling 2 or more of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be time for you to have yourself checked by your doctor.
Best Treatment For Neural Foraminal Stenosis
For people who have this condition, the obvious choice is to search for possible treatment to get better. Here are just some of the possible available treatments:
- Non-Surgical Treatments – Usually, this type of treatment is recommended for those whose condition is not that bad yet. This means that the condition has just started and can still be improved. This involves taking some medications to relieve the pain and the other symptoms that people might feel.
- Physical Therapy – Some people diagnosed with this condition lose their sense of feeling with certain parts of their body, and their main goal is to feel those body parts again. Physical therapy will be prescribed and might take some time before the effects will be felt, but once people begin to improve, the condition of the muscles and bones will become better.
- Chiropractic Treatment – This type of treatment will require the chiropractor to align the spinal cord to improve how people are currently feeling. Some people swear by this type of treatment, while some feel like this treatment is not worth it.
- Ice and Heat Therapy – This type of therapy is done to treat the pain brought about by the condition. Do remember that only the pain will go away, but the condition will still worsen as long as it is not addressed.
- Lifestyle Alteration – Like mentioned earlier, there are instances when people only begin to have this condition because of the things that they do. For people who do certain things repeatedly, this might be their ticket to acquiring this condition. Changing those habits by doing a complete lifestyle alteration can decrease people’s chances of acquiring the condition.
- Minimally Invasive Surgeries – For those who have mild cases of this condition. Some small surgeries may take place to improve what is wrong.
- Decompression Surgery – When all the things that have been tried have not changed people’s condition, this is the recommended type of treatment for complete resolution.
Do remember that the treatments that will be recommended will depend on the severity of the condition. It is also important for the patient to know the pros and cons of each treatment available. Certain risks and complications might take place, especially when undergoing decompression surgery.