Cervical Spinal Stenosis — Narrowing in the Upper Spine
Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can compress the spinal cord or nerves, resulting in pain, weakness, numbness and other symptoms. When this condition occurs in the upper, or cervical, region of the spine in the neck it is referred to as cervical stenosis.
Common spinal stenosis symptoms
A narrowing of the spinal canal typically doesn’t cause symptoms unless it progresses to a point where it significantly compresses the spinal cord or nerves. When this happens, intermittent or chronic pain, numbness, or weakness may be felt in the neck and shoulders and may extend down the arms to the hands. The neck pain is often described as stiffness, and people often complain of a numbness or heaviness in the arms and hands. When the spinal cord is compressed, there can be shock-like pain down the arms and legs, difficulty using the arms and hands, or difficulty walking.
Cervical spinal stenosis causes
Cervical stenosis is most frequently caused by degenerative changes, including osteoarthritis, in the neck. After years of normal wear and tear, cushioning between bones in the spine may break down, allowing bones to wear against each other. At these sites, the body produces growths called bone spurs that may narrow the spinal canal, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Occasionally, large disc herniations and spinal tumors can narrow the spinal canal enough to compress the spinal cord.
Treatment options for cervical spinal stenosis
Cervical stenosis may or may not require treatment depending on whether symptoms include pain or disability. Nonsurgical treatments may include modifying activities to reduce stress on the spine, physical therapy, medications or injections to reduce pain and inflammation or wearing a brace. In severe cases or those that are progressively worsening, physicians may recommend surgery to correct the condition.
Learn more today
If you're living with spinal stenosis in the upper spine and searching for relief, reach out to USA Spine Care for help. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping people develop the right care plan to reach treatment goals and achieve lasting relief.
Patients can expect recovery to last 4-6 weeks in most cases (depending on the complexity of your condition). People who choose minimally invasive spine surgery recover faster and get back to work sooner than those who choose open back surgery. Read more in the links below: Recovery After a Procedure What to Expect Recovery Times
Problems from anesthesia.
A deep infection in the surgical wound.
A skin infection.
Nerve injury, including weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
Tears in the fibrous tissue that covers the spinal cord and the nerve near the spinal cord. These tears may require more surgery.
Trouble passing urine, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Long-term (chronic) pain, which happens after surgery in some cases.
The chance that the surgery won't relieve your symptoms. And even if you get better with surgery, there is a chance that you may get new symptoms in the future.
Death from problems caused by surgery, but this is rare.
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^Results are typical, but not guaranteed, each patients experience with spine surgery will differ.
For more information, visit usaspinecare.com/results. The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a replacement for a medical diagnosis.
*Our MRI review is an informational review of the MRI report that you provide to us and is not a form of diagnosis. A diagnosis and a final determination of whether you may benefit from treatment at USA Spine Care can only be made after you have been physically examined by our medical professionals at USA Spine Care. The MRI review has no value and will not be billed.