Symptoms and Treatments for Cervical Stenosis

Symptoms and Treatments for Cervical Stenosis

Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, compressing the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. This can cause pain and damage to the spinal cord. Treatment brings much needed relief.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cervical stenosis, your primary care physician may recommend visiting an orthopedic specialist for evaluation and to discuss your treatment options. At the Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, specializes in diagnosing and treating bone and joint conditions, including cervical spinal stenosis

In this post you’ll learn about the symptoms of cervical stenosis, the primary causes, and what can be done to treat it.

What is cervical spinal stenosis?

Cervical stenosis is when the space within your spine becomes narrower. Your spinal canal is a hollow space that houses the spinal cord and nerve roots. These nerves play an important role in communicating sensory information so that you can move and feel. They also help to control the bowel, bladder, and other body functions.

In cervical stenosis, your spinal canal becomes smaller in your neck or lower back, which doesn’t leave enough space for the spinal cord and nerve roots. Compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots can cause a range of disruptive symptoms.

What causes cervical spinal stenosis?

Cervical stenosis commonly stems from age-related changes to your spinal canal. Most people have some age-related changes to the spine by age 40.

Intervertebral discs provide cushion between the bones of your spine, allowing you to bend and move comfortably. These discs can dry out and crack, causing them to move out of place, a condition known as disc herniation. Bony growths called bone spurs are another age-related cause of cervical spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis

Neck pain is the primary symptom of cervical spinal stenosis. You may also have pain in one or both arms and may experience abnormal sensations, such as burning or an electrical sensation. Numbness or tingling may also occur. 

Depending on the severity, you may also experience weakness of one or both arms, and in severe cases you may experience bladder problems. Symptoms tend to worsen as the condition progresses, which is why it’s important to seek treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.

Cervical spinal stenosis treatment

Non-invasive treatments, such as physical therapy and medication to manage pain, are often useful in mild cases of spinal stenosis. In the early stages of the condition, this is often sufficient to slow damage and manage symptoms. When non-surgical treatments fail to relieve symptoms, or your symptoms are severe, decompressive surgery can help you obtain relief.

Decompressive surgery involves restoring space in the spinal canal so that your spinal cord and nerve roots have room. The specific approach depends on the specifics of your condition. Removing disc, bone, or tissue that may be compressing nerve roots provides significant relief.

Relief from chronic neck and back pain

Cervical spinal stenosis is one cause of neck pain. If you’ve been diagnosed with cervical stenosis, contact our office to schedule a visit to discuss your symptoms and treatment options. We have an office in Pearland and Lake Jackson, Texas. We look forward to discussing how we can help you feel better and achieve pain relief. 

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