Spinal Stenosis in the Cervical Spine

Spinal Stenosis in the Cervical Spine

Hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from symptoms of spinal stenosis every year. It is a condition that affects the neck and causes pain, limited mobility and other symptoms.

The first step in obtaining pain relief is to equip yourself with the right information about the condition.

Stenosis means a narrowing of a passage in your body. This can occur in the spine, where the spinal canal may narrow down, and exerting pressure on your nerves.

Spinal stenosis can be of two types, based on the location – the upper spine or cervical stenosis and the lower spine or lumbar stenosis.

Causes of cervical stenosis

Some people, who are born with a small spinal canal, are at a higher risk of developing cervical stenosis. However, stenosis usually is the result of an injury or other musculoskeletal changes, such as –

  • Thickened ligaments
  • Bone over growths
  • Herniated discs
  • Tumors
  • Spinal injuries like fractures
  • Spinal trauma

Symptoms of cervical stenosis

Cervical stenosis patients may experience symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, which worsen over time.

Most common symptoms include –

  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the hands and arms
  • Difficulty walking
  • Balance issues

Treatment of cervical stenosis

Whether your spinal stenosis is causing symptoms or not, it should never be left untreated.

Pain doctors specialize in accurately diagnosing and treating a wide range of spine conditions, including cervical stenosis.

To precisely identify the cause of your cervical stenosis, your pain doctor may conduct imaging tests like MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays. They may also conduct a physical exams and discuss your medical history and symptoms with you.

Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, your pain management doctor will design a personalized treatment plan depending on your needs, goals and lifestyle. This treatment plan may include one or more of the following:

  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid or epidural injections
  • Nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency therapy (RFA)