Cervical Spinal Stenosis ( Cervical Spondylosis )

cervical spinal stenosis

Stenosis means narrowing of a structure and cervical spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing or tightening of the spinal canal in the neck. Spinal canal is the bony tube in which the spinal cord and the nerve roots travel to our arms and legs. It’s narrowing can lead to pinching, squeezing and compression of the nerve roots or can also damage the spinal cord itself. Eventually person will show various symptoms like pain, stiffness and incontinence.

Cause of Cervical Stenosis

Cervical spinal stenosis is a slow and progressive disorder that is usually caused due to age-related degeneration in the shape and size of the spinal canal. It most commonly occurs in people older than 50 years. Other than this, the main causes of cervical stenosis include the following:

  • Overgrowth of bone

  • Herniated disks

  • Stiff and thickened ligaments

  • Tumor

  • Spinal injuries/trauma

  • Congenital (narrow spinal canal by birth)

Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis

Cervical Spondylosis

Some patients may have narrowed spinal canal only as a finding noted on X-ray or MRI but do not have symptoms. This is because symptoms usually appear over a long period when the spinal cord or nerves become squeezed. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or legs

  • Neurological symptoms like numbness, weakness or tingling in a leg, foot, arm or hand

  • Headache

  • Balance and coordination problems especially while walking

  • Heavy feeling in the legs

  • Incontinence (loss of bowel or bladder control)

  • If left untreated, it may also lead to paralysis

Diagnosis of Cervical Stenosis

Diagnosis of cervical stenosis starts with a complete history along with thorough physical and neurological examination of the patient. This will give a good idea about the problem to the physician. But to make sure of the exact diagnosis, several diagnostic tests are carried out including:

  • X-rays

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

  • CT myelogram

 

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