Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis, also called cervical stenosis, occurs when the neck’s protective spinal canal narrows due to degenerative changes or trauma. If the space within the spinal canal is reduced too much, neurologic deficits can result from spinal cord compression, a condition called myelopathy.
This condition can result in a variety of serious symptoms anywhere in the body at or beneath the location of spinal cord impingement. Pain, numbness, weakness, and/or loss of coordination in one or more limbs or bodily functions may be the result.
The Course of Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
Cervical stenosis with myelopathy tends to get worse slowly over time, but there is some variation. Symptoms may remain stable for long periods or rapidly worsen.
When Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy is Serious
Early symptoms of cervical myelopathy include changes in coordination or fine motor skills of the arms, weakness/numbness in the arms or legs, or problems with balance. These should be taken seriously and checked out by a doctor. If treatment is not sought, the spinal cord can become more compressed and severe symptoms could result, such as paralysis in one or more limbs or other bodily functions shutting down.
Most cases of myelopathy will require an operation to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. In rare cases, symptoms of myelopathy are mild enough so that nonsurgical treatments are recommended. However, because of the risk of severe nerve damage, most surgeons will recommend an operation to relieve pressure on the spinal cord