Everything You Need to Know About Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition which causes the narrowing of the spinal canal, leading to a variety of problems and often, pain.
Striking people in the over-50 age group, spinal stenosis usually manifests in either the lower (lumber) back, or the upper (cervical) spine, in the neck.
Usually provoked by arthritis, the narrowing of the spinal canal reduces space for the discs, impacting their job of keeping the vertebrae apart and fully functioning.
So, do you have cervical spinal stenosis? Read on. If you recognize yourself here, it may be time to come see the spine experts at Spine Consult NJ.
The Spinal Cord
Your spinal cord is the body’s super highway to the brain. When its function is impeded by narrowing in the canal which houses it, pain, tingling and numbness may result.
All this may sound alarming, but cervical spinal stenosis isn’t usually treated with surgical interventions. Conservative therapies which relieve pain are preferred. When the condition is properly managed, most people with spinal stenosis can carry on with their lives with little interruption.
Stiffness, pain, numbness and tingling in the neck may all be indications of cervical spinal stenosis. Pain in this area can often have a serious impact on quality and enjoyment of life. The saying “a pain in the neck” is reserved for situations which cause undue complications and that’s what happens when this condition attacks the vertebrae and supporting systems in the cervical portion of the spine.
If you’re experiencing any of the listed sensations in your neck, getting a diagnosis is your key to recovery. Following a thorough and detailed examination and investigation of your medical history, imaging diagnostics will be ordered to determine the status of the cervical spinal canal.
X-rays reveal whether there have been changes to the bones in the cervical spine. An MRI may be ordered to determine if any tumors are present which may be provoking the condition.
A CT scan employs X-ray imaging to provide a 3-dimensional view of your spine, which will reveal any damage to soft tissue.
Depending on the nature of the underlying cause of cervical spinal stenosis, conservative treatments like drug therapy may be applied. The type of medication prescribed will depend largely on the cause of the stenosis and may range from over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers to muscle relaxants or anti-spasm medication to ease nerve damage and muscle spasms
A corticosteroid like prednisone may be injected. But this treatment is used conservatively due to the side effects which may attach.
Exercise may also be prescribed, assigning you to a physical therapist to help with strength, balance and restoring muscle which may have atrophied. Sometimes, a brace is also used, or a mobility aid.
Spine Consult NJ
The team at Spine Consult NJ is dedicated to the health of your spine. Our goal is to restore you to normal function, using a variety of modalities, depending on the nature of your condition.
If you suspect you may have cervical spinal stenosis, we invite you book a consultation.