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Cervical spinal stenosis symptoms

Cervical stenosis symptoms can be varied, which is one factor that can make diagnosing this condition difficult. This is because spinal stenosis, or narrowing, in the cervical (upper) spinal region can lead to nerve compression that can cause symptoms to travel into other areas of the body. As a result of this compression, symptoms like numb fingertips or forearm weakness can actually be traced back to cervical nerve compression.

As part of the central nervous system, the brain sends and receives sensory and motor signals using a complex network of nerves. To facilitate this transfer of information, nerve roots branch off the spinal cord, and nerves extend throughout the body. However, before exiting the spinal column, these nerve roots need to travel through narrow canals between the vertebrae. Over time these openings, along with the central spinal canal, can become narrowed due to a number of underlying causes. If narrowing in the upper spine becomes severe enough, it can cause nerve compression that leads to a range of associated cervical stenosis symptoms.

Specific cervical stenosis symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms can include:

  • Local neck pain at the site of compression
  • Muscle weakness in the shoulders, elbows and arms
  • Shooting pain into the shoulders, arms and hands
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the arms, hands and fingers
  • Loss of reflex or motor function

Treatment for cervical nerve compression

Upon diagnosis of cervical stenosis as the underlying cause of neck pain and other symptoms, most doctors will begin treatment with conservative options like medication, physical therapy and spinal injections. Patients are often able to find long-term relief without resorting to surgery, but it can become an option if other methods have been exhausted without bringing the relief necessary for a good quality of life.

As an alternative to traditional open spine procedures that involve a large muscle-disrupting incision and an overnight hospital stay, USA Spine Care provides minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery. Our surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, offering patients a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To learn more, reach out to our caring team today.

We can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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.

Contact us today to learn more. Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Spinal Stenosis "Quick Answers"

Depending on the region and severity Spinal stenosis feels like tingling, burning and/or weakness in the hands, arms, neck, lower back or legs. It may also feel like a radiating pain or shooting shock-like pain. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Overview Defining Spinal Stenosis Researching Spinal Stenosis Learning About Back Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Pathophysiology
The types of spinal stenosis are region based and consist of cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back) and lumbar or lower back. In addition, foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramen. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis of the Neck Cervical Stenosis - Basic Facts Neck Stenosis Causes Neck Stenosis Treatment Central Canal Stenosis Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis in the Back
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition, most often located in the Lumbar spine, may be caused by degeneration of the spine, wear and tear, sports injury, & collapsing discs. Read more in the links below. What Causes Spinal Stenosis? Obesity May Lead to a Stenosis Diagnosis Age and its Role in the Development of Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Causes Identifying Common Causes From Birth Defects to Getting Older Degenerative Conditions Car Accident Injuries
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include tingling or numbness in the extremities, pain and weakness in the neck, back and/or legs. In severe cases bladder, bowel dysfunction/continence. Learn more in the links below: What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis What Should I Do If I Think I Have Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis and Hand Pain Recognizing Spinal Stenosis Have You Been Diagnosed? About Your Diagnosis Diagnostic Process Helping Your Physician How a Diagnosis Is Made Arriving at a Diagnosis
Physician specialties that treat spinal stenosis include: Pain management & rehabilitation physicians, spine surgeons, orthopedic specialists & neurosurgeons. Read more about these specialties in the links below: Doctors Who Treat Spinal Stenosis Spinal Decompression Doctors
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.
  • Blood clots.
  • 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.

Read more in the links below: Overview of Risk Factors Most Common Risk Factors Obesity & Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis & Arthritis Treating Elderly Patients

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