Cervical spinal stenosis symptoms

Cervical stenosis symptoms can be varied, which is one factor that can make diagnosing this condition difficult. This is because spinal stenosis, or narrowing, in the cervical (upper) spinal region can lead to nerve compression that can cause symptoms to travel into other areas of the body. As a result of this compression, symptoms like numb fingertips or forearm weakness can actually be traced back to cervical nerve compression.

As part of the central nervous system, the brain sends and receives sensory and motor signals using a complex network 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 between the vertebrae. Over time these openings, along with the central spinal canal, can become narrowed due to a number of underlying causes. If narrowing in the upper spine becomes severe enough, it can cause nerve compression that leads to a range of associated cervical stenosis symptoms.

Specific cervical stenosis symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms can include:

  • Local neck pain at the site of compression
  • Muscle weakness in the shoulders, elbows and arms
  • Shooting pain into the shoulders, arms and hands
  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the arms, hands and fingers
  • Loss of reflex or motor function

Treatment for cervical nerve compression

Upon diagnosis of cervical stenosis as the underlying cause of neck pain and other symptoms, most doctors will begin treatment with conservative options like medication, physical therapy and spinal injections. Patients are often able to find long-term relief without resorting to surgery, but it can become an option if other methods have been exhausted without bringing the relief necessary for a good quality of life.

As an alternative to traditional open spine procedures that involve a large muscle-disrupting incision and an overnight hospital stay, Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery. Our surgeons can access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision, offering patients a shorter recovery time with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To learn more, reach out to our caring team today.

We can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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