You’ve been feeling a pain in your neck. It may come and go, but it’s not getting any better. You may even be feeling other symptoms such as a tingling sensation or numbness. The pain might be traveling down into your shoulder or arm, or even into your leg.
You may have the beginnings of cervical spinal stenosis. This means that your spinal canal is beginning to narrow, perhaps along with the pathways of the spinal nerve roots. The spinal cord and nerves can become compressed, which causes the more severe symptoms.
Our caring staff at Apollo Pain Management in Sun City Center, Florida, is trained to handle this special kind of musculoskeletal condition that causes pain and other distressing symptoms. Following is helpful information on the causes of and cures for cervical stenosis.
Causes of cervical stenosis
Cervical stenosis arises from related causes.
When you’re young, your body is a finely honed machine that normally works well. As you age, your body begins to show signs of wear and tear. Depending on genetics, activity level, and type of activities you’ve been engaged in during your life — for example, bending and lifting heavy objects — your discs may lose height and flatten out or bulge out of their space. This changes the amount of space between your vertebrae, narrowing the path of your spinal nerves and compressing them, causing cervical stenosis.
You may have arthritis in your spinal facet joints. The arthritis may cause the development of bone spurs that grow on your spinal cord, also resulting in stenosis. Thus, aging is a predominant cause of spinal stenosis, occurring mostly in people over 50.
Trauma from an accident can result in early arthritis, which in turn can cause early degenerative disc disease and stenosis.
There’s a reason why your mother may have told you to stand up straight if you were hunching. Good posture means that your ears should be right above your shoulders; the shoulders should not be hunched over or rounded. This way, your head is balanced on your spinal cord, and the load is carried evenly among the vertebrae.
The C5, C6, and C7 vertebrae are the bones in the lower part of your neck. They carry the majority of the load from the weight of your head. When your head is thrust forward, it increases the stress on those vertebrae.
In addition to stress on the vertebrae, poor posture places more force on the discs and facet joints in your spine, possibly leading to degenerative disc disease, along with stenosis.
Every inch forward that you hold your head out from your shoulders, perhaps as you hunch over your computer, is ten more pounds of weight on your cervical spine. Day after day, it adds up, and spinal degeneration begins.
Treatment of cervical stenosis
It’s important to receive early treatment for cervical stenosis. The staff at Apollo Pain Management may prescribe pain medications, physical therapy, and/or epidural injections to relieve your pain.
In severe cases, surgery may be needed, although most patients do not need surgery. In more severe forms, cervical stenosis may cause issues with balance and walking. Don’t wait; if you have neck pain, get help sooner rather than later.
Ask your primary care physician for a referral to Apollo Pain Management or call our office. We’re your partner in pain management.