Cervical Spinal Stenosis


What is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

In older adults, chronic neck pain is often caused by cervical spinal stenosis (CSS). CSS is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows. This pinches the nerves, causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the neck, upper back, and extremities.

The cervical spine refers to the set of seven cervical vertebrae connecting the thoracic spine to the base of the skull. These vertebrae contain hollow spaces, which together form the spinal canal. The spinal canal is home to the spinal nerves, this bundle of nerves transmits messages between the brain and all other areas of the body, including the sensation of pain.

In a healthy spine, there is plenty of room inside the spinal canal and/or the spinal nerve roots for the nerves to function properly. But as we age, wear-and-tear on the cervical vertebrae can cause the degenerative changes to the spinal canal, which then begins to narrow, closing in on the nerves, and causing a painful condition known as CSS.

If your spinal canal narrows in the lower part of your spine, it’s called as lumbar spinal stenosis. If cervical spinal stenosis is caused by spinal cord compression, your condition could also be called cervical myelopathy.

Causes of Neck Pain due to Cervical Stenosis

Why does the spinal canal narrow? There are a number of possible causes. The precise cause of your condition may be difficult to pinpoint, but it may be due to one or a combination of the following:

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Spinal trauma or injury
Disc protrusions
Herniated disc
Degenerative changes
Degenerative disc disease
Bone spurs (osteophytes) on the vertebrae or facet joints
Tumorous growth

Cervical spinal stenosis is most commonly found in older adults, who are more susceptible to disc degeneration and osteoarthritis in their advanced age.

Over time, the cartilage which cushions and lubricates the cervical joints wears thin. This causes bone-on-bone friction when moving the neck, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Bone spurs may start to develop, making the spinal canal even smaller. Before long, the bone spurs are closing in on those sensitive nerve endings, called a “pinched nerve.”

Our Locations

Choose your preferred location