Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is too small for the spinal cord and nerve roots. It can lead to myelopathy, which is defined as the compression of the spinal cord or radiculopathy, which arises when pinched nerves leave the spinal cord.
Due to wear and tear on the spine, most patients with cervical stenosis are over 50 years of age. Some patients, however, may be born with this condition or develop it because of a spine injury.
Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis
The most common symptoms of this condition are stiffness or pain in the neck, which may progress over time. Several other symptoms of cervical stenosis include:
- Pain, stiffness, or numbness in the shoulder, arm, hand, or leg
- Burning or tingling sensation
- Feeling of pins and needles in the shoulder, arm, hand, or leg
- Issues with coordination and balance while walking
- Bladder and bowel problems
Diagnosing Cervical Stenosis
If you show any symptoms of cervical stenosis, a doctor will perform a physical exam to search for movement limitations, balance problems, pain, loss of reflexes, muscles weakness, and other signs of spinal cord damage. They will also review your medical history.
In the event a doctor believes cervical stenosis is present, they will use a diagnostic imaging test such as an MRI or CT scan to gain a clear picture of your spinal canal and spinal cord and confirm diagnosis.
Treating Cervical Stenosis
Fortunately, the majority of cervical stenosis cases can be improved with conservative treatments. These treatments typically involve a combination of pain medications, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections.
Medications will aid in decreasing inflammation around the nerves of your spine while physical therapy will focus on restoring flexibility and strengthening your muscles. Epidural steroid injections involve injecting corticosteroids into the area surrounding your spinal cord to reduce inflammation.
If your symptoms are extremely serious, continue to progress, or do not respond to conservative treatments, surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures for cervical stenosis are designed to remove pressure from the spinal cord and spinal nerves and usually include some type of stabilization or fusion. Here at Pacific Spine, we offer minimally invasive surgeries to provide patients with less pain and faster recoveries.
Contact Pacific Spine
If you believe you may have spinal stenosis, it’s important to schedule an appointment at our office as soon as possible. Our spine specialists will evaluate your condition and guide you towards the healing process.