What Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?
Cervical spinal stenosis implies a narrowing either of the central portion of the spinal canal or the portions on the side where the nerves exit.
Spinal stenosis, in general, occurs in the cervical, and lumbar areas. The mid-back or the thoracic region is rare to have spinal stenosis.
In the neck, there are seven vertebral bodies with interposed cervical discs.
The spinal canal centrally or laterally can gradually narrow due to thickening of ligaments or worsening arthritis causing a squeeze of the nerve roots and even the spinal cord. The causes of spinal stenosis are usually age-related.
By the time we reach 50 years of age, bulging discs and arthritis as well as degeneration of the discs, can all contribute to cervical spinal stenosis. Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis include sensations of pain traveling down the distribution of the nerve along with stiffness, numbness, or weakness across the arms, hands, legs or shoulders.
Gait and incoordination as well as basic balancing may present when trying to walk. Diagnoses involve a thorough history and physical as well as proper imaging including CAT scans, x-rays, MRI, electrodiagnostic studies, and bloodwork in certain cases treatment options for cervical spinal stenosis includes analgesics for temporary pain relief, antiepileptic medications to help deaden sensitive nerves, low-dose antidepressants which are helpful in both sleep and chronic pain, as well as opioid use for worsening chronic pain.
Physical therapy including home exercises to help strengthen and improve the flexibility of the neck is important.
Epidural steroid injections as well as facet joint injections and trigger points into the local muscles may also be effective and may augment the effects of oral medication and physical therapy. If these fail one can be evaluated for their candidacy for surgery.
Treatment options for current condition
- Physical Therapy
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications
- Cervical Laminectomy