Spinal Stenosis - WatsonsHealth


In this condition the spinal canal located in the will be narrowed. The spinal canal is the open area that forms the spinal column.

The spinal canal shrinks and can compress and squeeze the nerve roots where they leave the spinal cord or it may damage or compress the spinal cord itself.

Squeezing the nerves and cord in the cervical spine can alter how the spinal cord works and result in stiffness, pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs and neck. It can also impact your control of your bladder and bowels.

What causes cervical spinal stenosis?

Cervical spinal stenosis is normally caused by age-related alterations in the size and shape of the spinal canal and so is most frequent in people older 50 years of age. The aging process can cause a “bulging of the discs”-the spongy discs between the bones of the spine bulge out farther than normal-or a thickening of tissues that connect bones (ligaments).

Aging can also result in the destruction of tissues that cover bones and excessive growth of the bones in joints. These changes can cause narrowing in the spinal canal.

Many people older than age 50 have some narrowing of the spinal canal but do not have symptoms. Cervical spinal stenosis does not show symptoms until the spinal cord or nerves get squeezed. Symptoms normally develop slowly over a long duration and may have:

  • Numbness, stiffness, weakness or pain in the shoulders, neck, arms, legs or hands.
  • Coordination and balance problems, including tripping, shuffling or during walking. Cervical spinal stenosis could be crippling when the spinal cord is injured.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.


Your physician will ask you whether neck movements cause pain, weakness, or numbness. If cervical spinal stenosis is suspected, your doctor will suggest imaging tests of your back and neck to verify the diagnosis and to find what is responsible for the narrowing of the spinal canal.

Imaging tests that such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans can be used. Your doctor will make use of the results of tests, like imaging and blood tests, to remove other diseases-such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and vitamin B12 deficiency-as the reason of your symptoms.



In patients with mild symptoms, the treatment will be medicine to get rid of pain, exercise to keep strength and flexibility, and physical therapy. In case of severe symptoms, like weakness of muscles or the images of spine show that spinal cord or nerves are being firmly squeezed; doctor is probably to recommend a surgery for decompression to relieve the pressure. This surgery may be performed from the back or the front of the neck. It has eliminated some of the disc, bone, and/or tissue that can be pressing on the nerve roots. Bones are often combined together surgically to offer stability to the spine.

Cervical spinal stenosis can possibly cause severe problems with the nervous system, such as problems with bowel or bladder control and permanent loss of feeling and strength in the hands, arms and legs.

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