Cervical Stenosis is a narrowing of the canal of the spinal cord of the neck. This is usually a degenerative condition that happens after the 6th decade of life. This can occur earlier if there are inflammatory or congenital factors are involved.
Neck pain is a common complaint, often tightness or heaviness is felt in the neck. The pain often will radiate to the shoulders and can radiate down to the arms like a pinched nerve. Difficulty with coordination, dexterity or walking, indicate deeper involvement with pressure on the spinal cord. Usually, the symptoms are present for years and progress slowly, but if there is a rapid progression of symptoms, surgery is done to protect the spinal cord function.
The diagnosis is made by the physician primarily by physical exam. X-rays can be helpful, but an MRI or CT scan confirms the diagnosis. Common treatments include careful physical therapy, neck bracing or epidural injections to relieve inflammation. In severe cases, surgery to decompress the spinal cord is necessary to preserve spinal cord function.