Life surprises us with twists and turns. Some of these come in the form of unexpected accidents or injuries. One potential outcome of an injury can be foraminal stenosis. How can this impact your life?
The truth is, foraminal stenosis primarily emerges due to wear and tear associated with aging. However, accidents or injuries can trigger its onset; these include slips and falls, recreational incidents, or even car accidents. Another noteworthy contributor is osteoarthritis, a factor that prompts the development of bone spurs encroaching upon the foramen. NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you determine the best course of action for your foraminal stenosis after evaluating your medical records.
What is Foraminal Stenosis?
Foraminal narrowing, also known as neural foraminal stenosis, is a medical condition characterized by a reduction in the size of the neural foramen. The neural foramen is a small passageway on each side of your vertebra. It is the gateway via which nerve roots exit the spinal cord and extend to other body parts. These nerve roots are essential for transmitting sensory and motor signals. Shrinking of the foramen occurs when the space within the foraminal canal becomes restricted or constricted.
The reduced allowance leads to compression and irritation of the nerve roots that pass through it. Symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness along the path of the affected nerve. This ailment’s specific manifestation and severity depend on the location of the constriction in your spine and the impacted nerves. For example, foraminal tightening in your neck may lead to symptoms in the arms and upper body. In contrast, lower back contractions will affect the legs and lower body.
Injuries and Their Influence on Foraminal Stenosis
In the aftermath of an injury, your body’s natural response includes inflammation. While this is intended to aid in healing, it may lead to the swelling of tissues around the injury site. The engorged tissues pressure the surrounding structures; for example, the intervertebral foramina. A sudden fall can cause inflammation around your spine, squeezing the foraminal spaces and potentially pinching nerve roots.
The healing process often involves the formation of scar tissue, which acts as a natural adhesive to repair damaged tissue. Scar tissue forming around your intervertebral foramina could inadvertently aggravate foraminal stenosis. It is akin to a repetitive strain injury obtained during various activities. The body’s attempts to mend the affected area through the build-up of extra tissue constrict the nerve passageways, causing discomfort and limiting nerve function.
What Else Can Contribute to Foraminal Stenosis?
Fractures and dislocations can culminate in misalignment of the spinal vertebrae. This displacement disrupts the average spacing between vertebrae and their adjacent structures, potentially affecting the foraminal openings. For instance, a car accident may give rise to vertebral misalignment, which then alters the alignment of the foramina. The nerve roots that traverse these spaces can experience compression, leading to pain and sensory disturbances.
Over time, it may have a hand in the degradation of your spinal discs and other supportive structures. The deterioration further encroaches upon the foraminal region, worsening nerve root compression. An example might be a sports-related injury that, when not appropriately treated, leads to ongoing wear and tear on the spine. This gradually adds to the narrowing of the foraminal openings and subsequent nerve irritation.
Contact the Expert Back and Spine Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today
If you suspect you have foraminal stenosis, your road to recovery begins with finding effective medical solutions. At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we specialize in back and neck pain that emanates from spine-related issues. Our state-of-the-art facilities, combined with the expertise of our doctors, ensure you receive top-notch care.
Whether you’re seeking conservative therapies, minimally invasive procedures, or surgical interventions, our team has the knowledge and skills to craft a customized treatment plan. Connect with us via our contact form or call us at (866) 553-0612 to discover our offerings and arrange a consultation.