What are cervical spine stenosis treatments? What are treatment options for cervical spine stenosis?
Depends. Some with stenosis have no symtoms, so no treatment is needed. If there are symptoms or signs of myelopathy (hand/arm numbness, tingling, clumbsiness, loss of dexterity, balance problems) a spine surgeon can enlarge the space for the spinal cord. The technique would depend on the shape of your neck, the number of narrow places, surgeon preference (among other things).
Symptomatic . Symptomatic stenosis (numbness, weakness, tingling, aching in hand or elsewhere) is treated with surgery to decompress the spinal cord and nerve exiting from the cord. Spinal stenosis is a structural problem, and if symptomatic, is treated with surgery. If the stenosis is particularly severe, your surgeon may recommend surgery even if you symptoms are not severe. The reason for this is that cervical myelopathy (essentially the disease process of the spinal cord being injured by the stenosis) is often a gradually progressive process. In some cases, in can progress rapidly, and this can be life threatening in rare and extreme cases. Furthermore, there have been cases reported of patients with pre-existing cervical myelopathy from central canal stenosis becoming quadriplegics from falls that cause the neck to bend or twist in a way that pinches or kinks the spinal cord. In a normal person, there is enough space around the cord for the cord not to be injured when this happens. Severe central canal stenosis eliminates this safety buffer.
Monitor or surgery. Cervical stenosis implies a narrowing of the circular pipe like cage that surrounds the spinal cord. A condition that includes an inferior displacement of part of the cerebellum (chiari) causes a crowding of what would have been an adequate sized tube.In the absence of progressive headaches or other symptoms, the issue can be monitored.Surgery can enlarge the tube size but is a major undertaking. Read more...