Cervical Spinal Stenosis

James M. Leipzig, MD, FACS

Spinal Surgeons located in Roanoke, VA

A narrowing of the spinal canal in your neck, called cervical spinal stenosis, can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Fellowship-trained spine surgeon James Leipzig, MD, FACS, diagnoses and treats cervical spinal stenosis at The Spine Center in Roanoke, Virginia. If you think you have cervical spinal stenosis, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis Q & A

What is cervical spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spinal canal is too narrow, creating pressure on your spinal cord and nerve roots. The two main types of this condition are lumbar spinal stenosis, which affects your low back, and cervical spinal stenosis, which affects your neck.

Cervical spinal stenosis can cause pinched nerves, known as radiculopathy, or damage to your spinal cord, called myelopathy. Damage to both the spinal cord and nerve roots is called myeloradiculopathy.

What causes cervical spinal stenosis?

Cervical spinal stenosis is often due to age-related changes in your spine, though injuries and congenital spinal deformities like scoliosis can cause stenosis in younger people. Common causes of cervical spinal stenosis include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Injuries, such as whiplash
  • Spinal cysts or tumors
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

The Spine Center thoroughly reviews your medical history and imaging studies to determine the cause of your cervical spinal stenosis so they can recommend treatment accordingly.

How do I know if I have cervical spinal stenosis?

Many people who show evidence of cervical spinal stenosis on imaging tests don’t experience symptoms until the pressure on their spinal cord or nerves reaches a critical level. When symptoms occur, they often include neck pain, arm pain, and numbness or tingling in the arms or hands.

As cervical spinal stenosis progresses, you may experience muscle weakness in the arms and hands along with a loss of coordination. Advanced cases may cause bowel and bladder dysfunction as well as numbness and weakness in the legs and feet.

What cervical spinal stenosis treatments are available?

The Spine Center takes a conservative approach to treatment. Unless your neck pain is the result of trauma, treatment usually begins with physical therapy and medications to reduce pain and inflammation. 

They may also administer a steroid injection into the joints of your cervical spine or the epidural space.

If conservative treatments aren’t effective, or if your symptoms are severe, surgery may be necessary. The Spine Center specializes in minimally invasive surgery for cervical stenosis, including procedures such as microsurgical anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery.

For advanced expertise in treating cervical spinal stenosis, call The Spine Center or request an appointment online today.