Symptoms of Neuroforaminal Narrowing
Neuroforaminal narrowing is a type of spinal stenosis. Fortunately, mild cases of neuroforaminal stenosis do not cause any symptoms. However, stronger cases come with symptoms such as back pain, neck pain, numbness, weakness, sciatica, and balance issues. Usually, symptoms will worsen over time. Neuroforaminal narrowing can affect one or both sides of the body. The affected area of the spine also effects symptoms. Symptoms occur on the side of the body that coincides with the position of the pinched nerve. Unfortunately, one severe symptom of neuroforaminal narrowing is paralysis. Neuroforaminal narrowing can affect the legs, arms, back, and buttocks. Further, patients should seek treatment as soon as possible in certain situations. Specifically, patients who experience pain after a severe accident, loss of bowel control, or weakness should immediately seek medical attention. The symptoms indicate that the neuroforaminal narrowing is very severe.1
What Is Neuroforaminal Narrowing?
The neuroforaminal narrowing definition is a condition that compresses the nerve roots in the spinal column. The neural foramina are openings between spinal vertebrae, and there are nerve roots that exit the spine through the neural foramina. Narrow neural foramina compress nerve roots. Compression causes pain, numbness, and weakness. Certain actions exacerbate symptoms. The patient’s condition can also worsen. First, cervical stenosis occurs in the neck. Second, thoracic stenosis occurs in the upper back. Third, lumbar stenosis occurs in the lower back. Certain symptoms are dependent upon the location of the stenosis. Sometimes, symptoms are not too noticeable. Furthermore, symptoms that suddenly become a lot stronger can be dangerous. The cause of the narrowing also effects how quickly the symptoms become more severe. There are many causes of neuroforaminal narrowing. Some causes are more severe than others.2
Neuroforaminal Narrowing Causes
Some causes of neuroforaminal narrowing are bone spurs, osteoarthritis, congenital narrow spine, skeletal diseases, herniated disk, thickened spinal ligaments, trauma, scoliosis, dwarfism, and tumors. It is rare for tumors to cause neuroforaminal stenosis. Neuroforaminal narrowing is caused by many spinal conditions and injuries, and it can also cause more issues to develop. Injuries and underlying conditions cause neuroforaminal stenosis in young patients. Age increases the risk of neuroforaminal stenosis because normal wear and tear can cause narrowing. Additionally, age causes spinal disks to lose height, dry out, and bulge. Patients always have to maintain spinal health.3 Often, sciatica is a symptom of lumbar neuroforaminal narrowing. Next, cervical myelopathy can cause cervical stenosis. Cervical stenosis affects the spinal cord, arms, and hands. It also causes neurological symptoms. Some forms of neuroforaminal narrowing are more dangerous than others, and patients should always be careful after they sustain a traumatic injury.4
Bilateral Neuroforaminal Narrowing
Bilateral foraminal stenosis affects both sides of the spinal nerve root. It can be caused by an enlarged joint, a collapsed disc space, or a herniated disc. Bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing is not as common as one-sided foraminal stenosis. One-sided foraminal stenosis is more common because only one side of nerves is pinched. Bilateral foraminal stenosis can occur in the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. The symptoms are often the same, and patients should seek medical attention if they experience any severe symptoms. One-sided and bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing can both lead to dangerous symptoms and long-term complications. Fortunately, they are also treated similarly. However, surgical treatment for bilateral stenosis is more invasive because of the additional damage.5
Traditional Treatment for Moderate Cases
Moderate cases of neuroforaminal narrowing do not require too much medical intervention. Patients may try a combination of medications and physical therapy to treat the condition. Specifically, over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Aleve, and Tylenol can be used to relieve pain. On the other hand, there are also prescription pain relievers. Anti-seizure medications like Lyrica can also help with nerve pain. A doctor can prescribe corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy is a very important part of treatment. First, it strengthens the muscles. Next, it improves physical range of motion. Moreover, it helps patients correct and maintain their posture. Additionally, patients may wear a cervical collar neck brace to treat cervical stenosis. The cervical collar relieves neck muscles and decreases pinching in the nerve roots. Many cases of neuroforaminal narrowing can be treated easily, and there are even more natural options.6
Traditional Treatment for Severe Cases
Symptoms such as numbness and paralysis indicate that the patient has a severe case of neuroforaminal narrowing. Medical intervention could be required. Surgery may be necessary to widen the neural foramen and release the compressed nerve. Generally, the surgery is minimally invasive. The surgeon creates a small incision and uses an endoscope. A laminotomy removes bone spurs, scars, and ligaments that are causing the narrowing. A foraminotomy enlarges the foramina. A laminoforaminotomy is a combination of laminectomy and foraminotomy. A herniated disk can cause neuroforaminal narrowing, and a discectomy removes a herniated disk. If neuroforaminal stenosis is not treated it can cause permanent weakness, urinary incontinence, and paralysis. Generally, patients should avoid surgical treatment unless it is absolutely necessary. There are some complications that are associated with surgery. However, some cases of neuroforaminal narrowing are too severe to avoid surgery without serious symptoms.7
Chiropractic care is one safe treatment option for neuroforaminal narrowing. This treatment option is a drug-free and more natural alternative treatment. First, the chiropractor determines the cause of the neuroforaminal stenosis. The chiropractic treatment is designed to treat the cause of the stenosis. Spinal adjustments open up the neural foramina and relieve pressure on the nerve roots. The adjustments also restore motion to the vertebrae. Chiropractors can relieve pain and restore functionality to patients with neuroforaminal narrowing.
Of course, patients should consult their doctor before trying chiropractic care. It is not the right treatment option for everyone, but most patients will benefit from chiropractic care. Additionally, chiropractic treatment can treat other physical and mental conditions. Specifically. patients should see a chiropractor because it is a more natural treatment option than medications. Chiropractors can also teach patients about stretches and exercises to try at home, and they often work with physical therapists.8
1, 2, 3, 6, 7 https://www.healthline.com