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Foraminal Stenosis C7

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,322
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Just had the results back from MRI and have the above.
I've had 3 op's but all at the lumbar region and am unsure about the above named condition.
I cant hold a pen now and it seems to be getting worse every day.
I do have a high pain threashold but the relaxation and breathing exercises arent cutting it with this problem.
Does anyone know the prognosis or any exercises I can do to help myself with this.

Thank you in advance

xx Husky xx


  • The foramen is an opening through which the nerves exit the spinal canal. When they become clogged up, often due to arthritis, bony overgrowth, etc., the nerve gets pinched, bent or otherwise compressed which results in the pain you are feeling. Usually the only way to free up the nerve is by trying to get any inflammation to go down by using a steroid, or steroid injection, or by doing surgery. It is not a condition that can "heal" on its own like a herniated disc.

  • Is there anything I can do to help it until I see the neurosurgeon? We tend to have to wait months for appointments here in the UK, and if im being honest, I dont know how much more of this I can take, Im losing more and more sensation in my hands, Ive dislocated my little fingers 3 times in the past week and cant even hold a pen now.
    How much worse will it get?

    Thanks Gwennie
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  • I really know very little about cervical spine issues, but I would assume foramenal stenosis in the cervical spine is the same condition as it is in the lumbar region. I doubt there is much you can do except for some sort of pain relief and whatever you can find that makes you feel a little better.

    The foramen is a structural "hole" where the nerves exit from the spinal column. It is supposed to be clear and open so that the nerve can pass freely. When there is arthritis present, or for other reasons, our bodies develop bony overgrowth, and other "gunk" that blocks up the hole.

    Think of an old corroded water pipe. It is designed to be hollow so the water can run freely. When the water has too many minerals, there is a build up on the inside of the pipe that can cause a blockage that prevents the water from getting through. In the spine, that opening is the foramen and it is supposed to be free and clear. But when stenosis, (which in Greek means "narrowing of a normally larger hole") is present the nerve gets bunched up or pinched. This in turn results in the referred pain we feel in our limbs. When the blockage becomes severe, the only way to treat it is for the surgeon to go in and scrape away the "gunk" to clean out the opening.

    Conservative, non-surgical, treatments would include taking anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS like Advil, naproxen, etc., gentle neck exercises, traction, and using ice or heat or alternating them, whatever feels best to you. Sometimes people wear a cervical collar as it lends some support and keeps movement to a minimum. I'm sorry but I can't think of other treatments that might make you feel better.

    Hopefully one of the cervical spine people can offer some suggestions.

    Hang in there. Hope you get in soon.

  • Been and seen the NS who after examinig me agrees with the stenosis C7 but is not happy about the pain in my hands. I've dislocated my little fingers so many times that one of them has just stayed out, my ring finger is now starting to come out of joint. No clue why as Im not doing anything to irritate anything, seems to be first thing in the morning that they appear in spasm, serious pain. My arms, manly shoulders are killing me, but just some stiffness in neck.
    NS want "Nerve conduction" tests now and Im getting them pretty fast, which here in the UK isnt a good sign as we wait for everything health wise.
    NS says he'll see me after the tests (and his waiting lists) to clarify and discuss the results with me but he's quite sure its not related to the stenosis.
    Apparently its quite common when youve had previous surgery, Ive had 3 but in the lumbar region. Thats playing up now too and Im losing control of my legs. Mainly walking but now the problem is control over the actual movements themselves. Im trying to walk and my legs appear to have a mid of their own and I never knew they could bend in these directions. I more or less bed ridden and cant hardly wait until theyve done what theyve got to do. Im the biggest scaredy cat but am embrassing anything that will help this pain.
    Mentally Im on top of it which is the main battle but I must admit Ive lost it a couple of times.
    This has been almost a year waiting on lists for MRI's appointments, tests and then another 2 lists to go through (God please no more) and the whole time not knowing why Im in his amount of pain.
    Not being able to type, write, or even cut up my food. Not nice and it doesnt help the positive attitude you try to keep and me personally value greatly.
    Anyone have any idea why my hands are as bad involving my little fingers, ring fingers but pain over the whole hand? If he says its not stenosis related, I cant hardly wait to see what else it can be.
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks

    xx Husky xx
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