A Guide to Cervical Foraminal Stenosis
The spine is where many nerves and the spinal cord pass through that help the transfer of signals from one part of the body to the brain. The spine also assists in various upper body movements like bending, standing, and twisting. Any injury occurring to the spine will directly affect all its functions. Sometimes, the injury is so serious that Trauma Implants are required to stabilize the condition.
Here, in this post, we are going to discuss one of the most debilitating spinal conditions known as cervical foraminal stenosis.
Foraminal stenosis is the condition in which the spine becomes narrow and that results in compression of nerves and/or the spinal cord. When this condition affects the neck region of the spine, it is known as cervical foraminal stenosis. Let us dive deep into what the condition is.
What Are the Symptoms Associated with Spinal Stenosis?
In some cases, people suffering from spinal stenosis may not experience any symptoms, but others may feel pain in the back, tingling, and muscle weakness. They need to be identified soon as the symptoms become worse with time. The symptoms associated with cervical spinal stenosis may include:
- Numbness and/or weakness in the arm, hand, leg, or foot
- Issues while walking or maintaining balance
- Pain in the neck
- Severe cases of the condition may show dysfunction in the bowel or bladder
What Are the Causes of Spinal Stenosis?
The bones present in our spine protect the spinal cord, and in the case of any injury, there are chances of pinching the spinal cord. Injuries or other conditions may result in the narrowing of the spinal canal causing foraminal stenosis. Some of the common causes of this condition may include:
The formation of bone spurs is one of the reasons for the narrowing of the spinal canal. Due to some reasons, bone spurs grow in the spinal canal while reducing its space. There are also the chances of compression of nerves.
A herniated disc is the condition in which the cushioned discs that protect vertebrae from impacts become damaged, and its inner material protrudes out. This is also a reason for foraminal stenosis.
Thickening of Ligaments
Sometimes, ligaments present in the spine become stiff and thick with time, and that may also be the reason for foraminal stenosis.
Tumor growth in the spine may occur between the vertebrae and the spinal cord or within the membranes. This can only be detected in a CT scan or MRI.
Traumatic Spinal Injuries
Dislocations and fractures occurring due to traumatic injuries like car accidents, contact sports injuries, or falling from a height may also be the reason for cervical foraminal stenosis.
How Cervical Foraminal Stenosis is Treated?
The treatment of the condition will be based on the severity detected during the diagnosis. Mild cases of the condition can be treated with medications like pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and opioids. Targeted physical therapy may also be suggested to build up strength and endurance, improve balance, and maintain the flexibility of the spine. In certain cases, steroid injections may also be applied, especially when pain relievers fail.
Surgery is recommended when all the other treatment methods are unable to relieve the condition. Different types of surgeries that may be performed include:
- Minimally invasive surgery