Cervical Spinal Stenosis

What is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

Cervical spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spine which results in the compression of the spinal cord. Compression of the spinal cord is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction, called cervical myelopathy. Cervical spinal stenosis can be congenital, but may be acquired as a result of herniation of a disc or the development of a bone spur. The combination of both a congenital and an acquired problem, symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis can include moderate to severe back pain, and can have a significant effect on the way you live your life.

Diagnosis of Cervical Spinal Stenosis

The first step in diagnosing cervical spinal stenosis is a detailed medical history followed by a physical examination, so that the physician can recognize what appear like common symptoms are. Your spine surgeon may order can MRI Scan which will show the spinal stenosis and spinal cord compression. Other causes of myelopathy, besides cervical spinal stenosis, include Multiple Sclerosis, vitamin B-12 deficiency, spinal tumors, Syringomyelia, arteriovenous malformations of the spinal cord and chiari malformations.

Treatment of Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Treatments can include surgical and non-surgical therapies. Non-surgical therapies include medication and neck immobilization with a collar or by traction. The goal of these treatments is to eliminate back pain, neck pain, numbness and alleviate weakness and other bodily malfunctions.

Surgical therapies include relieving the compression of the spinal cord by enlarging the spinal canal. There are many ways to accomplish this procedure. Each case is unique to the individual patient. If your back pain is too much to handle, Call Dr. Moza, an experienced spine surgeon in Thousand Oaks.

Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Cervical spinal stenosis causes symptoms only if the nerve roots or spinal cord are compressed. This means that either radiculopathy (compression of a nerve) or myelopathy (compression of the spinal cord) are being experienced. The symptoms of radiculopathy are limited to:

  • Back pain
  • Weakness or numbness in one arm

The symptoms for myelopathy are more dispersed and can be confusing to diagnose. Patients with cervical myelopathy may complain of frequent headaches, which can be confused with migraine symptoms. Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Sensitivity to light, sounds and smells
  • Widespread pain
  • Weakness and clumsiness
  • Balance problems
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Increased urinary urgency and frequency
  • Disturbances in bowel movements
  • Fatigue