About Cervical Stenosis
Cervical stenosis refers to narrowing of the areas that surround the spinal cord and nerves which exit the spine. The narrowing or stenosis can be “central”, meaning the central spinal canal space is decreased, “neuroforaminal” meaning that the exit point of the nerves from the spine is impaired or reduced, or stenosis can involve the “lateral recesses”, specific areas within the spinal canal where the nerves exist. Causes for cervical spinal stenosis can involve congenital problems, such as shortened pedicles, disc bulges or herniations that lead to stenosis, or osteoarthritic changes from bone spurs or enlarged facet joints which can take up space surrounding the nerves. Additionally, a thickened ligamentum flavum can lead to cervical stenosis as well. As we age, our intervertebral discs lose water content and “shrink”. With this loss of disc height, ligaments that support the spine can fold inward and cause stenosis.
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Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis
Narrowing in the upper (cervical) spine can cause numbness, weakness or tingling in a leg, foot, arm or hand. Patients may also endorse neck pain or shoulder pain that is described as deep, achy, sharp, or shooting pain. In severe cases, patients may endorse weakness in their hands or fingers when trying to hold objects. In very severe cases, nerves to the bladder or bowel may be affected, leading to incontinence.
Treatments for Cervical Stenosis
Procedural treatments for cervical stenosis can include cortisone injections into the epidural space or the facet joints if they are hypertrophied (enlarged or arthritic). The location of the injection is decided by the distribution of symptoms and imaging findings. Regenexx treatments including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and platelet lysate injections can also be used experimentally to provide a healthier environment to promote healing in these cervical spine areas.
If you suffer from cervical stenosis, please make an appointment to see one of our physicians. Ospina Medical is located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Please contact our office to schedule an exam and consultation to learn more about your treatment options.