How does COVID-19 impact upcoming appointments?

During this time of public health concern, Ohio State Spine Care remains open, many appointments may take place via telehealth wherever it's possible and appropriate. For all in-person visits, you can feel confident that our locations are safe. We've taken significant measures to minimize the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and worked tirelessly to ensure that our patients are protected. Please call our office at 614-293-BACK(2225) to schedule. Be sure to visit our special COVID-19 patient and Telehealth webpages for more information.

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.

What is Spinal Stenosis? 

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 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 Spine Care, 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 Ohio State Spine Care:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Radiologists
  • Neurologists
  • 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 back 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 Spine Care 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.

Dr. Francis Farhadi explains the diagnosis of spinal stenosis and the treatment options that are available at Ohio State Spine Care.


Diagnosing Cervical Spinal Stenosis and Myelopathy

As part of your thorough history and physical exam, we use the Modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale – an international standard – to assess the severity of your spinal cord damage. The scale measures extremity numbness, weakness and coordination problems, bladder and bowel problems, fine motor skills of the hands, and balance issues.

We routinely use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine to give us high-resolution pictures of the spinal cord and surrounding tissues.


Treating Cervical Spinal Stenosis and Myelopathy

Ohio State offers treatments ranging from physical therapy to the most complex neck and spine surgeries. Our physicians, therapists and other caregivers provide you with options that increase mobility and reduce pain. Most people who come to Ohio State Spine Care do not require surgery.



Ohio State performs innovative research in the laboratory, as well as through clinical trials. 

Enroll in a clinical trial

Areas of focus include:

Riluzole study [Efficacy of Riluzole in Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy Undergoing Surgical Treatment, sponsored by non-profit AO Spine]: We are the only center in Ohio — and one of approximately only 12 in North America — participating in a study of the medication riluzole for patients who are candidates for surgery for myelopathy. We are helping to determine if taking riluzole in the weeks before and after surgery protects spinal cord nerve cells. Riluzole has already been approved for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We are evaluating the drug’s effectiveness in treating the severe symptoms of cervical stenosis, such as uncoordinated fine finger movements, gait imbalance, numbness and burning pain in the arms and legs.

Study of Stem Cell Mixture for Bone Fusion [Cellentra Viable Cell Bone Matrix (VCBM) Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Outcomes Study (VCBM/MaxAn®)]: We are participating as a high-volume center for a randomized, blinded study to evaluate a stem cell mixture to promote fusion of bones in cervical spine surgeries.

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Additional Information

Please obtain a physician referral before scheduling with our Spine Center and request previous imaging studies (e.g., MRI, CT, X-ray) on a CD from the place where your tests were performed. Please bring to your appointment these and other test results related to your back (e.g., EMGs, bone density reports, ultrasound reports) from your doctor(s).

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