Your spine, or backbone, protects your spinal cord and nerves, and allows you to stand and bend. Cervical spinal stenosis is the narrowing in your upper spine due to wear and tear. The narrowing in the neck area puts pressure on your nerves and spinal cord and can cause pain and disability.
Cervical spinal stenosis can lead to myelopathy, damage resulting from the spinal cord being compressed due to narrowing of ligaments, bones and discs surrounding the spinal cord.
Spinal stenosis occurs most often in people older than 50. Younger people with a spine injury or a narrow spinal canal also are at risk. Diseases such as arthritis and scoliosis can worsen spinal stenosis. Some people have no symptoms. Others might have symptoms that appear gradually or suddenly, especially after a fall. These symptoms may include:
- Pain in your neck or back
- Numbness, cramping or burning pain in your arms or legs
- Balance problems
- Weakness and lack of coordination in the fingers, hands, arms and legs
Doctors diagnose cervical spinal stenosis and myelopathy with a careful history, physical and neurological exams, and imaging tests. Treatments include medication, physical therapy and surgery.
Source: NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Learn more about brain and spine neurological conditions at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Why choose Ohio State for treatment of cervical spinal stenosis and myelopathy?
Comprehensive Care: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Comprehensive Spine Center offers multiple options for the treatment of cervical spinal stenosis. For most patients, surgery is not necessary. But if your quality of life is compromised, our spine surgeons can address the most challenging surgical cases, assisting those who cannot find help elsewhere.
Multidisciplinary Team: When you come to Ohio State’s Comprehensive Spine Center, we determine the source of your pain, diagnose the severity of your condition and choose the best, least-invasive treatment approach to restore you to the highest level of function possible.
Among the experts working for you at our Spine Center are:
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians
- Physical therapists
- Spine surgeons with neurosurgical and orthopedic training
- Pain specialists/anesthesiologists
Physical Therapy Expertise: If you have mild cervical spinal stenosis, our physical therapists, who specialize in spinal conditions, work with you one-on-one to alleviate pain and improve balance, strength and coordination.
Surgical Expertise: If your stenosis has progressed and requires surgery to protect your spinal cord, we have spine surgeons who are fellowship-trained in complex spine surgeries. We perform more complex spine surgeries than any other medical center in central Ohio.
Research: You will benefit from our involvement in national and international trials that provide you with the most current treatment methods for cervical spinal stenosis and myelopathy.
Spine Center Registry: Through Ohio State’s Comprehensive Spine Center registry, we track our patients’ outcomes, including physical function and quality of life, and compare these to national and international results to help us select the most effective treatment methods.