A narrowing of the cervical (upper) spinal canal is known as spinal stenosis in the neck. Stenosis, or “narrowing,” in the spinal canal can be caused by a number of issues, including bulging intervertebral discs or bone spurs. If nerve constriction results from this narrowing, symptoms can affect the entire body.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis in the neck, also known as cervical spinal stenosis, can include neck pain as well as weakness, numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms or hands. Pain and weakness also might radiate toward the legs and cause a loss of balance.
Because the symptoms of spinal stenosis can resemble symptoms caused by other conditions, it’s important to consult with your physician to determine the exact nature and origin of your neck pain. Although many forms of neck pain may eventually fade and disappear without medical treatment, you should never ignore the symptoms, especially if they last for more than a few days. When you see your physician, he or she will ask questions about the duration and severity of your pain, and your examination might include an X-ray, MRI or CT scan.
Should you be diagnosed with spinal stenosis in the neck, there are a variety of conservative (non-surgical) treatments that a health care provider may recommend to you, including:
- The application of heating pads or ice packs
- Exercise or physical therapy to strengthen the neck muscles
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
- Therapeutic massage
- Epidural injections
- Chiropractic treatment or acupuncture
Sometimes, conservative treatment is not enough to alleviate chronic, debilitating neck pain, and surgery may be considered. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures to help you find relief from the pain of spinal stenosis in the neck. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information.