Foraminal narrowing in the cervical spine causes neck pain, arm pain, numbness, tingling and radiculopathy due to pressure on the nerve roots. Lumbar foraminal narrowing will result in pinched nerves in the lower back causing back pain, sciatica or leg pain, numbness and tingling in the toes.

In foraminal narrowing, nerve roots exit the spine through small holes on both sides of the spine called neuro foramen. These small holes are surrounded by two moving spinal joints: the facet joint and spinal disc. Injury to these spinal joints may result in progressive degeneration or joint arthritis.

As one of the three forms of spinal stenosis, nerve roots exit the spine through small holes on both sides of the spine called neuro foramen. Neuro foramen are surrounded by two moving spinal joints: the facet joint and spinal disc.

Injury to the spinal joints will result in progressive degeneration or arthritis of the joints. Arthritis of the facet joints and degenerative disc disease cause foraminal narrowing in affected areas of the spine by bone spur or osteophyte formation, loss of disc height, facet hypertrophy, facet capsule hypertrophy and disc bulging.

Foraminal narrowing is treated when it causes pain or radiculopathy. Asymptomatic foramenal narrowing does not need treatment. Effective treatments for foraminal narrowing include therapy, interventional pain management and surgery. Deuk Laser Disc Repair® is a very effective surgical treatment for symptomatic foraminal narrowing and uses a laser to “open” up clogged foramen relieving pressure on the nerve root being compressed.

Foraminal Narrowing Diagnosis

Once a pinched nerve becomes known, numbness, tingling, soreness and pain may radiate through the arms or legs, depending on the nerve affected. In many cases, patients will undergo an MRI to determine whether there is any visible obstacles blocking the foramina, including a herniated disc or effects of Spondylolisthesis.