What Is Neural Foraminal Stenosis?
With the increasing worldwide dependency on the use of the internet for everything from buying tennis shoes and making reservations to paying bills and building business contacts, it is not uncommon for individuals to use their technological means to self-diagnose medical conditions. Some are easy enough to identify and treat, including sinus colds or strained muscles, but when dealing with weakness, pain and tingling throughout the body, even the most astute online medical site may not be able to pick up on a condition known as Neural Foraminal Stenosis.
Do You Have Neural Foraminal Stenosis?
Neural Foraminal Stenosis is a condition that is caused by the shrinking or narrowing of the natural nerve passage in the spinal canal. The nerves run through the spine, and exit through the foramen, or opening, to assist the remainder of the body in its everyday activities. When constricted by the lack of allotted travel space, the nerves are incapable of operating at full capacity.
The narrowing, or stenosis, of the foramen can be caused by a number of conditions, both natural and traumatic. Natural causes can include disc degeneration as a result of aging bones, as well as several types of arthritic conditions, such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Additionally, congenital diseases, which are present at birth, especially those dealing with the spine, can contribute to Neural Foraminal Stenosis. Traumatic causes can include spinal injuries from an accident, or disc herniation, which can be caused through exercise, sports or lifting heavy items repeatedly.
Neural Foraminal Stenosis can affect the lower or upper back. Which location is affected by the narrowing process will dictate which side of the body suffers from the symptoms of the degeneration. Neural Foraminal Stenosis symptoms include weakness, pain, tingling and numbness in the arm, leg or both. Although the symptoms have been described to “shoot” down one side of the body in an alarming fashion, but subside shortly thereafter, advanced sufferers endure chronic symptoms, and will require treatment before the interruptions and discomfort abates.
The degree of the condition will dictate the available Neural Foraminal Stenosis treatments, which can only be determined on a case by case basis. Individuals who are experiencing the onset of the affliction can be treated with medication, or by restricting their compounding movements that may exacerbate the condition. In addition, eliminating the need to lift heavy objects, play certain sports, or endure strenuous activity that affects the back. In addition, losing weight may lessen the pressure on the affected area. These are only short term adjustments to prolong the inevitable, which is a surgical procedure to correct the affliction.
So far, surgery is the only proven method to offer complete relief from Neural Foraminal Stenosis. The surgical procedure will encompass the removal of the portion of the spine, or herniated disc, to reopen the foramen to its original operating level. Once the process is complete, the nerves will run through the spinal cord unaffected by compression, thereby alleviating the pain, numbness or tingling sensations the patient experienced prior to the operation.
Thanks to the evolution of treatment options, not all cases require an invasive procedure that requires the opening of the back or neck to treat the affected area. However, when this procedure is necessary, the operation is far more advanced than its minimally invasive counterpart.
The invasive operation requires large incisions to the body to remove the portion of the spine that has degenerated. Once the spinal section has been removed, a stabilizing process will need to be administered, which can be in the form of adding metal hardware to the anatomy, or fusing the existing skeletal segment back together. Once the operation is complete, the incisions are stitched, and the patient is provided with medication for pain, as well as antibiotics to avoid an infection from the process. Healing and recovery time for this procedure extends for months, with the possibility of introducing physical rehabilitation to strengthen the skeleton after the initial healing period.
The minimally invasive treatment requires smaller incisions, only large enough for the endoscopic technique to be performed. This technique involves placing tubes into the incision, followed by surgical tools that will travel through the tubes to operate on the affected area. This operation requires less recovery and healing time.
When suffering from Neural Foraminal Stenosis, relief is welcomed in just about any form. It is important that the afflicted speak to their doctor about their specific case, as no two are exactly alike, and can only be treated individually.What Is Neural Foraminal Stenosis?,
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