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Bilateral Foraminal Narrowing

Foraminal narrowing is characterized by compression of the nerves in the spine. The "foramina" are the spaces between your vertebrae ("foramina" means "window"). If you have a bulging disc, bone spurs, hardened ligaments, slipped vertebrae or other similar conditions, there may be less space between your vertebrae for the root of the nerves, which connect to organs throughout your body.

Usually, foraminal narrowing only affects a single nerve root on one side of the body. However, some patients may experience bilateral foraminal narrowing, caused by nerve compression on both sides of the spine. Typically, the symptoms of bilateral foraminal narrowing include pain that develops over the course of time, often a number of years (the majority of patients are over 50). Most patients with foraminal narrowing or bilateral foraminal narrowing do not experience continuous pain, but rather have pain when they assume certain positions or engage in certain activities.

Learning More About Bilateral Foraminal Narrowing
Foraminal narrowing and bilateral foraminal narrowing are usually diagnosed by a combination of medical history and additional tests such as X-rays or an MRI. Because foraminal and bilateral foraminal narrowing are not usually aided by pain medications and other conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend either alterations to your lifestyle (avoiding activity that exacerbates the condition) or surgery to alleviate pressure on the nerve.

Recent advancements in back surgery have brought new treatments for bilateral foraminal narrowing. The Bonati Institute for Advanced Arthroscopic Surgery (www.bonati.com), a pioneer in laser-assisted spinal micro-surgery, uses minimally invasive methods to relieve nerve compression without much of the trauma, long recovery period or complications associated with traditional open back surgery.

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