Lumbar foraminal stenosis

Lumbar foraminal stenosis

In the low back, the foramen are the holes on either side of the vertebrae where the nerves exist the spinal cord and go out into the pelvis and lower limbs. Obviously these holes need to be large enough so the nerves can pass through and not become pinched or compressed. Lumbar (low back) foraminal stenosis implies that the holes have become smaller and now the nerves are getting pinched as they pass through. The usual way this stenosis occurs is losing the height of our discs. As we age our intervertebral disc become thinner and these act like the spacers between vertebrae. Without thick spacers (discs) our vertebrae sit too close to each other and there isn’t much room in between for our nerves to pass. Other reasons in the low back for the foramen to become smaller is arthritis and bone spurs or a slipped disc that bulges into the foraminal space.

Symptoms of lumbar foraminal stenosis

The most common feature of lumbar foraminal stenosis is low back pain. This particular cause of low back pain develops slowly; it does not typically cause an acute episode of low back pain. Low back pain may develop over many years. Low back pain associated with lumbar foraminal stenosis is not continuous and is related to different position of the low back.

Treatment of lumbar foraminal stenosis

The treatment of lumbar foraminal stenosis really depends on how advanced it is. In most cases conservative treatments are enough with our chiropractors and physiotherapists. Typically this will reduce low back pain and bring about normal low back function however if the foraminal stenosis is bad enough surgery will be the best form of treatment. Surgery decompresses the vertebrae or makes the holes (foramen) in the low back bigger so there is less compression on the existing nerve roots. At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we specialise in the non-surgical treatment of low back pain and offer you a clear plan on how best to treat your low back pain. We work closely with medical doctors and specialists such as surgeons and radiologists in a team based approach to low back pain to ensure you are getting the best in low back pain treatment.

Causes of low back pain

The following conditions are common causes of low back pain.