Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

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Spinal stenosis is the narrowing or constriction of a space in the body; in the case of cervical spinal stenosis this occurs in the cervical spinal canal around the spinal cord. The pain from spinal stenosis can be both acute or chronic neck pain, exacerbated through trauma such as whiplash or as a result of chronic degeneration. The condition can lead to both acute and chronic neck pain, with mobility issues, and additional problems such as cervicogenic headaches and referred pain, paraesthesia, and muscular issues.

Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis may also include myelopathy as the condition impacts the nerves in the cervical region. The insidious nature of cervical myelopathy means that it may be difficult to differentiate from other types of neck pain when it first occurs. Neck stiffness, arm and shoulder pain, and clumsiness of movements can indicate the presence of cervical myelopathy in combination with cervical spinal stenosis.

Diagnosis usually involves x-rays, MRI, and/or CT scans, along with a thorough case history and blood work to test for autoimmune irregularities which may suggest a different condition such as ankylosing spondylitis. Acute trauma should also be reported to the diagnosing physician as this may impact their suggestions for treatment, diagnosis, and prognosis. Cervical spinal stenosis may be exacerbated by recreational habits, such as surfing, and workplace conditions, like wearing a hard-hat on construction sites for many years. Treatment is usually physical therapy and medication, with surgery for cervical spinal stenosis reserved for severe and intractable cases that are unresponsive to other forms of therapeutic intervention.





Last Updated: 9/10/2010