What Is Left Foraminal Stenosis?

Foraminal spinal stenosis is a condition of the spine characterized by enlargement of the vertebral foramen, which puts pressure on the spinal nerves.

Vertebral Foramina

Nerves travel through the vertebrae to other parts of the body through vertebral foramina. Disease or aging can block these openings.

Affected Areas

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Foraminal stenosis commonly occurs in the neck area, also occasionally appears in the lumbar area. Foraminal stenosis is described as “left” or “left lateral” when nerves on that side of the body compress.


Symptoms of foraminal stenosis typically occur in one side of the body, but can occur in both sides as well. These symptoms include pain, numbness, burning sensation, weakness, difficulty moving and tingling in the affected side of the body.


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A patient’s medical history and description of the symptoms help the doctor narrow down the cause of the pain. If a doctor suspects foraminal stenosis, an X-ray or MRI helps confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment typically consists of lifestyle changes to avoid movement that causes pain. If pain persists, the doctor may determine surgery is necessary to relieve pressure on the nerves. This operation is typically a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.