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.
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 ProcedureWhat to ExpectRecovery 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.
^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.