Neck Pain

The spine runs from your neck to your lower back. The bones of your spine form a spinal canal, which protects your spinal cord.
Stenosis is a condition of narrowing the spinal canal or the foramen, the opening through where nerve roots pass. Stenosis can develop in any area of the spine. Degenerative changes in the spine, a collapsed disc, bone spurs, or cysts can make the spinal channel thin. This narrowing puts pressure on the nerve roots as well as spinal cord, regularly resulting in pain. The majority of people with spinal stenosis are over the age of 50. Although degenerative changes can develop spinal stenosis in younger people, typically additional causes need to be considered. These additional causes include congenital spinal deformities such as scoliosis, a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development throughout the body or trauma. To determine the cause, spinal imaging is necessary.

Stenosis Symptoms

Cervical Stenosis:

  • Stiffness in neck
  • Pain and Numbness in hands and/or arms
  • Weakness in arms causing difficulty using the hands

Lumbar Stenosis:

  • Cramping sensation in these areas
  • Tired, heavy feeling in back, buttocks, and legs while walking or standing
  • Decreased walking due to weakness, numbness or pain in legs

Non-Surgical Spinal Stenosis Treatments:

Physical therapy is very common when treating spinal stenosis, due to the fact that patients tend to become inactive in an effort to relieve the pain. While this is common, it can often lead to muscle weakness, which in turn can result in more pain. A physical therapist is important at this step to teach you exercises that can help:

  • Maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine
  • Build up your strength and endurance
  • Improve your balance

Once you have completed physical therapy your doctor may suggest a steroid injection.  While injections are not for everyone, it can relieve a lot of pain in some patients.

Surgical Spinal Stenosis Treatments:

If conservative treatments don’t offer relief. Your physician may recommend surgery. To include the following:

Cervical Laminectomy Laminectomy (a Spinal Decompression) is a surgical procedure that removes the back wall of the spinal canal, called lamina, to create more space for the spinal cord, thus relieving pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves.

Lumbar Decompression: This procedure involves removing all or portions of the lamina, bone spurs and/or enlarging foramen to relieve pressure or compression on the nerve roots or spinal cord. This pressure often is the cause of the pain.

Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that helps to relieve pain in the vertebrae (spinal bones) by fusing two or more vertebrae together to reduce motion. This procedure is done through a bone graft or a metal implant.