Cervical stenosis symptoms - some expected, some not

Cervical stenosis symptoms can be varied, which often makes diagnosing the condition difficult. This is because cervical stenosis (which is located in the neck area of the spine) is a condition wherein a spinal nerve becomes compressed, which can lead to pain being transferred along the nerve to a seemingly unrelated part of the body. As a result of this compression, symptoms like numb fingertips or forearm weakness can actually be traced back to a cervical nerve compression.

Nerve function

As part of the central nervous system, the brain is able to send and receive sensory and motor signals using a complex infrastructure of nerves. To facilitate this transfer of information, nerve roots branch off the spinal cord, and nerves extend throughout the body. However, before exiting the spinal column, these nerve roots need to travel through narrow canals in between the vertebrae. Over time, these canals, known as the foramen, can become compressed due to spine damage, resulting in the gradual compression of the nerve that it is tasked to protect — leading to a multitude of cervical stenosis symptoms.


Some of the most common symptoms can include:

  • Chronic, local neck pain at the site of the nerve compression
  • Unexpected muscle weakness in the shoulders, elbows and arms
  • Pain that seems to radiate or “travel” along the pinched nerve
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the arms, hands and fingers
  • Loss of reflex or motor function
  • And more


It is often difficult to correctly diagnose cervical stenosis symptoms without the help of a physician. Typically, your physician will review your medical history, conduct a thorough examination and schedule an MRI or CT scan to confirm the presence of stenosis in your spine and ensure that there are no other underlying issues causing your neck pain. To learn more about cervical stenosis, and to find out if you might be a candidate for a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.

Browse Related Resources