What Is Neural Foramina?

Neural foramina are the openings in the spinal vertebrae that allow the nerve roots to exit and connect to the rest of the body. Every pair of vertebrae have two neural foramina between them.

These openings also allow for passage of communicating veins, ligaments and branches of the spinal artery. The nerves passing through the neural foramina located along the cervical section of the spine lead to the upper chest and arms. Those along the thoracic section lead to the lower chest and abdomen. Those along the lumbar section lead to the bladder, bowel and legs. When the neural foramina narrows, this causes neural foraminal stenosis. This causes pain when walking, standing and bending.