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is bilateral neural foraminal narrowing....

autumnjoyaautumnjoy Posts: 55
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:41 AM in Spinal Stenosis
the same as spinal stenosis?

i recently had an MRI of my cervical spine. it showed mild diffuse bulging of C4-C7 and moderate bilateral neural foraminal narrowing at all levels.

i won't see my doctor for more than a week, and i am very curious as to what i'm dealing with?

my symptoms are PAIN!, numbness and tingling through arms and fingers, and some weird dizziness, like i feel like i am falling when i lie down.

can someone please explain a little of what i am dealing with, and the treatment of it?

thankyou very much.


  • In a word, yes. You can have stenosis in the central canal and in the foraminal openings. The foramen are openings on either side of the spine that allow the nerves to leave the spinal canal. You could think of them as the open space between vertebrae. When the foramen become clogged up through degenerative changes, osteophytes (little bony growths), etc. the exiting spinal nerve does not have enough room to pass through, and it ends up getting compressed. This results in the nerve pain the patient experiences in the extremeties. If it is foramen in the cervical vertebrae, the nerve pain is usually in the arms and hands. If it is in the lumbar vertebrae, the patient develops sciatic-type symptoms running down through the hip, leg and into the foot.

    It is possible to deal with foraminal stenosis with conservative treatment without surgery, but may require 6 to 12 months for recovery. However, if the pain us too much to deal with, surgery to widen the foraminal space (surgical decompression)can be done.

    In your case, from what you indicative from the MRI report, there are some bulging discs and the foraminal stenosis is bi-lateral, meaning it is on both the right and left sides. This would account for the pain you feel running down your arms, into your hands. You can search for a "dermatome map" to see which spinal nerve refers pain to which area of the extremeties.

    This website has excellent, informative articles, written by physicians and other medical professionals that can help you to understand your condition. You might want to read here:


    Hope this helps you understand your report.


  • thankyou so so much. i truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my question, and you explained it very well.

    i look forward to learning as much as i can from this website.

    thankyou again for your help.

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  • Here is a link to a video put out by spine-health. It is doctor written and peer reviewed, and may help you to understand foraminal narrowing or stenosis better.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Yes, most definitely, I have it myself. There is also lateral recess stenosis and central canal stenosis. There are many forms of it as well as different causes of it, the standard being bone overgrowth from arthritis. Before my surgery, my MRI did not show anything other than central canal stenosis; but when my surgeon went in during surgery, he found several areas of foraminal and lateral recess stenosis, which he fixed. However, only 2 years later, I had more foraminal stenosis show up on another MRI. My spinal stenosis in general happened very quickly at a young age. I was only 33-34, very fit, exercised all the time, never had back pain in my life. Then one day my low back started hurting on and off until it never went away. It just progressed so quickly over 3 years time. My surgeon said it's rare for someone in their 30's to get it and so quickly.
  • i have taken lumbar mri 3 months ago..
    1.mild disc bulge involving at l3-4,l4-5,l5-s1 leads to bilateral neural foramen narrowing
    2.bilateral neural foramen narrowing at l3-4,l4-5,l5-s1
    facet joint hypertrophy

    i have weakness in buttocks,legs,hands,throughout the body.pain and weakness in hands increases..

    i am going to take cervical spine mri also soon.

    i can't sleep well.because some sleeping posture
    creates pain in facet joints and creates inflammation in nerves.weakness and pain increases eventhough taking tablets. what is the solution my age is 26.
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  • Hello Kathirvel... We are inthe same boat.. Your MRI almost matches my to the T, but I am 38.. I hate to see someone your age have it.. PM me and i wil share some stuff i have done..
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