Cervical stenosis is a medical condition in which the spinal cord in the neck is pinched.
It is a gradual process, and is often the result of spinal stenosis.
Cervical stenosis is more likely to occur as the patient ages.
Cervical Stenosis is caused by one or more of the following reasons
- Improper posture
- Genetic reasons (flaws in the structure of the vertebral column)
Cervical stenosis is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms
- Heaviness in the legs
- Inability to walk fast
- Deterioration in the finer motor skills
- Intermittent shooting pains in the limbs similar to a mild electric shock, particularly when tilting the head forward
- Arm pain (cervical radiculopathy).
The effect these have on the body are
- Increased muscle tone in the legs
- Highly enhanced deep tendon reflexes in the knee and ankle
- Scratching the sole of the foot causes the big toe to go up instead of down
- Flexing of thumb and index finger on flicking the middle finger (Hoffman’s reflex)
Cervical Stenosis is diagnosed using one or more of the following techniques
- Imaging techniques such as MRI scan, CT scan along with a Myelogram which shows the tight canal and pinching of the spinal cord
- SSEP (Somatosensory Evoked Potentials), in which the arms and legs are stimulated and the electrical impulses in the brain are read. A delay in the time required for the signal to reach the brain is indicative of a defect in the spinal cord
- Cervical stenosis is best treated by surgical methods to remove the compression on the spinal cord.
- This surgery may or may not improve the symptoms, but the main goal of this cervical spinal stenosis treatment is to inhibit the progressive nature of the condition and to stabilize the patient’s condition.
- Cervical stenosis surgical decompression is either performed by an anterior approach (from the front) or posterior approach (from the back).
- The type of approach for cervical stenosis generally depends on the doctor’s preference and the location of the compression.
- If the patient also suffers from Radiculopathy, conservative methods like NSAIDS, behavioral changes and exercises for cervical stenosis are effective in alleviating the pain.
After the surgery, there is a chance for the condition to reoccur.Proper care should be taken in maintaining posture while walking, sitting, sleeping, etc.A balanced diet and regular exercises can help in maintaining the flexibility of the vertebral column.