What is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal has a tube-like structure that is formed by the hollow spaces in between each vertebra. The narrowing of this passage can lead to the compression of the spinal cord, which passes through it.
Spinal stenosis can affect any section of your back, but it is most commonly observed in the cervical spine, as well as the lumbar spine. In this article we will be discussing cervical stenosis, which occurs in the upper region of the back.
Ageing. The natural wear and tear of the spine that occurs with age can damage the facet joints and lead to spinal stenosis.
Bone spurs, which are small bony formations that can appear along the vertebrae. They can grow into the spinal canal, leading to the narrowing of the space available for the spinal cord.
Herniated discs. When the hard layer that protects the cushioning soft tissue between each vertebrae becomes damaged, it lets part of that inner soft tissue protrude outside of its shell, which may now be pressing on its surroundings.
Moderate and severe injuries that alter or displace the structure of the spine or neck may lead to cervical stenosis.
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When the spinal canal narrows, there is not enough space for the spinal cord to pass through, which can lead to a series of consequences and complications for the sufferer.
For one, the spinal cord may become compressed. Cervical spinal cord compression itself may lead to pain and stiffness, as well as other symptoms in the neck.
Nerve roots that branch out of the spinal cord may also become trapped and cause a series of issues such as pain, weakness or numbness in the back or neck, as well as other problems.
Cervical stenosis may cause symptoms such as:
- Pain, stiffness, weakness or tingling in the (upper) back or neck
- Numbness, weakness or tingling in the arms and legs
- Difficulty keeping one’s balance
- Difficulty walking due to lack of ability to hold one’s balance
Before you begin any form of treatment for spinal stenosis, it is recommended to seek medical advice and guidance in order to obtain a diagnosis and therefore, a personalised treatment plan.
The diagnosis process usually starts with a physical examination, where a specialist will examine the troubled local area to check for any visible deformities. If there is not enough evidence to suggest that your specific set of symptoms is caused by spinal stenosis, or if a cause for concern is detected during this initial examination, you may be referred to undergo further tests.
These may include a CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI for short). Apart from aiding in the diagnosis of cervical stenosis, these tests may help rule out more serious conditions as the cause of your problem.
Once you get a firm confirmation of your diagnosis, you can proceed to the treatment that works best for you.
There is a variety of options that are available to manage or even treat this condition, so you can find one that works for you. A good first step is to try minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatments first.
These are some of the management and treatment options for cervical stenosis:
- Anti-inflammatory medication, which can temporarily provide pain relief to manage the symptoms, but is not a form of treatment, and is not recommended for long-term use.
- Physical therapy. This is one of the most efficient forms of treatment as it is natural and focuses on long-term results, aiming to rebuild your strength.
- Any kind of surgery should only be considered as a last resort, only in cases where the patient did not respond to less invasive forms of treatment.
- Alternatively, you can try our method:
Spinal Backrack Technology
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Its aim is to treat the underlying causes of your spinal stenosis. By following specific nerve exercise programs using the Backrack, you can decompress your spine, relieve pressure in your neck, restore mobility to the affected area and leave your symptoms in the past!