Neck (Cervical) Pain Cervical Foraminotomy

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Cervical Foraminotomy as a Neck Pain Treatment

The neck is also known as the cervical spine and there are many nerves that exit along this part of the spine and base of the skull, out to the arms and hands. As a neck pain treatment, a cervical foraminotomy is designed to alleviate pressure on these nerves.

Neck Pain Treatments – Cervical Foraminotomy

Neck pain can be caused by many things, but chronic pain is often due to a problem that also involves surrounding nerves in or near the neck. They must exit through the spine, through openings called foramen. When these openings have narrowed or are too small, a procedure called cervical foraminotomy is used to relieve pressure and end the pain.

Is Cervical Foraminotomy the Right Neck Pain Treatment for You?

If you could look inside your neck, you would see it was built of the uppermost vertebrae of your spinal column. And you would also notice that nerves run through small spaces outward from the spine and head to areas including your shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Unfortunately, there are many reasons that those spaces through which the nerves pass, known as foramen, shrink and overcrowd the nerves.

When this happens, the nerves become irritated and can cause chronic pain, weakness in the limbs, and numbness. If left untreated the condition may become so severe that it requires surgical treatment to alleviate the pain. Cervical foraminotomy is one such neck pain treatment.

It is a surgical remedy that is used when other non-surgical efforts have been attempted without benefit. In most cases, cervical foraminotomy is considered when either a herniated disc is pressing against the nerve as it exits the spine or a bone spur is overcrowding the nerves and resulting in a narrowing of the cavity that they pass through.

In any case, the cervical foraminotomy as a neck pain treatment works to eliminate the pressure and the tension on the nerve root by widening the opening these nerves pass through.

Cervical foraminotomy is performed as a posterior surgery, meaning that it is usually performed through the back of the neck. The surgeon will remove a small amount of the bone from the posterior arch of the spine and then directly address the issue (whether it is the removal of a disc or bone spur). Most patients can be up and walking around within hours of surgery – though a neck brace is often an essential recovery component for stability.
Physical therapy is usually required in the weeks after a cervical foraminotomy, and it is important to review what you can and cannot do with your surgeon. For many patients suffering from specific cervical spine problems, the cervical foraminotomy as a neck pain treatment is frequently credited with providing instant relief of neck pain and associated symptoms.

At a Glance: Cervical Foraminotomy as a Neck Pain Treatment

  • A surgical procedure performed to provide more room for nerves exiting the cervical spine
  • Cervical foraminotomy alleviates pressure and pain in the neck by widening the opening that surrounding nerves pass through
  • Patients can be mobile relatively quickly after surgery, but will require a temporary neck brace and physical therapy for the best results.

Health Tips For Foraminotomy

  • It may be impossible to avoid herniated discs and bone spurs, so do not ignore discomfort or pain in the neck that also causes weakness or tingling  in the arms, hands or fingers
  • A neck brace will need to be worn after surgery, the length of time should can vary and should be discussed with your surgeon
  • Good posture is always useful in combating and preventing neck pain
  • Proper hydration is key! Many neck pain issues are the result of dehydration of cervical spinal discs

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