While the lower back develops lumbar spinal stenosis, the neck develops cervical spinal stenosis. Cervical stenosis is defined as the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck. Left undiagnosed and untreated, this condition can lead to serious spinal cord damage. Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, and treatments of cervical spinal stenosis.
Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
There are a number of symptoms that you may face if you are living with cervical spinal stenosis. Many of these symptoms may not be apparent at first and arise gradually over time. Some examples of the most common symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis are neck pain, pain and weakness in the arms, legs, and shoulders, balance issues, and burning sensations. Although rare, bladder and bowel problems may arise as well.
Causes of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Degeneration or wear and tear in the neck as a result of aging is a common cause of cervical spinal stenosis. For this reason, this condition is widely seen in men and women in their 50s or 60s who have had neck pain for quite some time. Trauma or injury may contribute to cervical spinal stenosis as well.
Diagnosis of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
If you believe you have cervical spinal stenosis, a doctor will likely ask you questions regarding your symptoms and perform a comprehensive exam. In the event they suspect this condition, they will perform a few imaging tests of your neck and back to confirm the diagnosis and pinpoint its exact cause. X-rays, MRIs, and CT scan may be conducted as well as blood tests to eliminate other conditions like vitamin B12 deficiency or multiple sclerosis.
Treatments of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Mild cases of cervical spinal stenosis can usually be treated with physical therapy to improve the strength and flexibility of the neck and medications to relieve pain. If you have a severe case of this condition, however, a doctor may suggest a surgery to relieve the pressure. Surgery will likely involve removing some of the bone or tissue that’s pressing on the nerve roots. The most common surgeries recommended for patients with cervical spinal stenosis include laminectomy, foraminotomy, cervical arthroplasty, and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
Contact SpineRad for more Information
If you’ve already seen a medical provider to find out whether or not you have cervical spinal stenosis, we encourage you to get education and explanation from us. Contact us today for more information.