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Understanding Cervical Stenosis

There are two types of stenosis that can affect the spine. The most common type by far is lumbar stenosis. Cervical stenosis, while much rarer, is the more dangerous of the two types of spinal stenosis. It is a situation where the spine is under compression, and that is always a very dangerous situation. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this condition.

What Is It?

Before explaining what cervical stenosis is, you first need to understand how the spine works. The vertebrae of the spine are a protective case for the spinal cord. The spinal cord is like the information superhighway of the body. It transmits nerve impulses from the brain down throughout the body.

These nerve impulses control every single thing we do, including breathing, moving and feeling. If the spinal cord is damaged, people can lose the ability to do some or all of these things. That is why it is so important to protect the spine.

Cervical stenosis is a compression of the spinal cord along the vertebrae of the neck. This usually happens slowly over time due to aging. As people age, the spongy discs that cushion the vertebrae can start to bulge out, which leads to a narrowing of the spinal column. This narrowing is the definition of spinal stenosis.

Symptoms

The symptoms of this condition are not very pleasant. It can cause pain, numbness and stiffness in the neck, arms, legs, hands and shoulders. It can cause a loss of coordination and balance, which often causes patients to trip and fall. It can also cause a disheartening loss of bowel and bladder control.

Treating Cervical Stenosis

It is very serious when someone is diagnosed with this condition. Mild cases can be treated with pain medications and physical therapy, and exercise is often recommended to maintain function. However, for serious cases of this disease, patients will often be advised to undergo spinal surgery.

All surgeries are serious procedures, but anytime the surgery involves the spine it is particularly nerve-wracking. Patients who undergo spinal surgery are always given a warning that they could lose the ability to walk if something goes wrong in the surgery.

Spinal surgery for cervical stenosis involves removing the discs, tissue and bone that is causing the compression of the spinal cord. Also, vertebrae may be fused together during the surgery to provide greater stability to the spinal column.

Don’t Mess Around

Because this is such a serious condition, anyone who thinks that they may be suffering from it should see their physician right away. Because it is a slow-progressing, degenerative disorder, catching it before it gets too serious can av

  

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