Stenosis is basically a closure of a nerve pathway; in other words a hole the nerve travels through. The central nervous system starts with the brain and spinal cord. Messages come down from the brain, travel down the spinal cord, and out nerve roots, that branch into smaller and smaller nerves, and communicate to the rest of the body.
Foraminal stenosis - due to arthritis, bulged or herniated disc, and inflammation, we get a closure of that space where the nerve runs. We call this for foraminal stenosis. This could be on one or both sides. Typically you have degeneration, or a disc more on one side than the other.
Spinal stenosis - the vertebrae have an opening in the back side allowing the spinal cord to travel down. Nerves originate from the cord and exit the cord on either side. If you cut the cord, everything below will be compromised. A disc that moves straight posterior can create spinal stenosis. The typical is the disc irritation in combination with inflammation and degeneration.
When stenosis happens, it's usually a severe level of degeneration. This is the phase IV of degeneration we had talked about in the past. This breakdown or arthritis doesn't really reverse itself so if the stenosis is primarily due to arthritis then surgical intervention is sometimes needed. If it's primarily disc or inflammation then there are many other options for relief.
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