Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis does not typically produce neck or arm pain but can in some cases. Instead it causes neurological symptoms that result from damage to the spinal cord. Early symptoms can include tingling or numbness in the arms and hands that come and go with nighttime sleeping position and neck postures. These symptoms can be so minor that they are incorrectly attributed to other aging problems or simply ignored. Over time symptoms of hand numbness, weakness or clumsiness, loss of sensation in the arms and legs, problems with balance, difficulty with walking and problems with bladder control can develop. It is important to discuss any of these symptoms that you may note with your doctors, as evidence of early nerve and spinal cord damage treatment can often be detected on physical examination.
Treatment of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Surgery that decompresses or relieves the pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves is the only treatment for cervical spinal stenosis. Surgery can prevent further damage to these neurological structures and is often followed by some improvement of these neurological symptoms.
There is some evidence that people with cervical spinal stenosis are at increased risk for severe spinal cord injury and paralysis following trauma such as tripping or falling, or motor vehicle accident. For this reason, some people with cervical spinal stenosis choose to have their cervical spine decompression surgery even though their symptoms are minor.