What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Many people who have cervical spinal stenosis do not exhibit symptoms unless their spinal cord or nerves are squeezed. Signs and symptoms usually gradually develop over a long period, including:
Pain, numbness, stiffness or weakness. Nerve pressure can cause minor to chronic pain radiating from the neck to the shoulder, upper back and down to one or both arms. It also causes numbness on the skin and weakness in the muscles supplied by the nerve. Patients usually complain of hands starting to feel numb, and they tend to be clumsy when writing or typing, and easily loses their grip.
Balance and coordination problems. Pressure on the spinal cord can affect leg muscles and nerves, and this is when patients notice a change in the way they walk. Cervical spinal stenosis can be crippling if the spinal cord is severely damaged.
Loss of bowel or bladder control. Mild spinal cord pressure urges you to urinate more often, and you may strain during bowel movements. Incontinence may occur in severe cases when a person lacks voluntarily control over urination or defecation.
What Types Of Healthcare Professionals Might Be Involved In My Care If I Have Spinal Stenosis
In additional to your regular healthcare provider, you may be seen by a team of healthcare professionals that could include:
- A rheumatologist to treat arthritis and related disorders.
- A neurologist to treat nerve disorders.
- An orthopaedic surgeon to operate on bones.
- A neurosurgeon to operate on conditions affecting the nervous system.
- A pain management specialist to control pain and discomfort.
- A radiologist to interpret imaging studies such as X-rays, CT and MRI scans.
- A physical therapist to develop a healthy back and back surgery recovery exercise plan.
- A physiatrist/rehabilitation specialist to treat back pain using nonsurgical approaches.
- An acupuncturist to administer acupuncture therapy.
- A chiropractor to manipulate your spine and related muscles, ligaments and bones.
What Causes Cervical Radiculopathy I Havent Done Anything To My Neck
The nerves that go to your arms exit the spinal cord through the spaces between bones in your neck. The bones have cushions between them called discs. A nerve can be compressed if the disc material is pressing on the nerve or if the bones develop spurs from arthritis, making the opening for the nerve small. Sometimes the joints in the spine can become inflamed and cause nerve irritation.
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The Ins And Outs Of Cervical Spinal Stenosis
The spinal cord comprises a column of nerve tissues that are safeguarded by a canal which runs through the spinal canal from the base of the brain down to your lower back. Conditions that narrow the space within this tube, such as cervical spinal stenosis, poses the risk of the spinal cord getting squeezed and can potentially cause serious problems in your nervous system.
Causes Of Spinal Stenosis
5 Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the open spaces within the spine. Narrowing can occur in the vertebral passageway that protects the spinal cord or in the bony passageways where spinal nerves exit the spine and travel to other areas of the body. By itself, spinal narrowing may not cause any noticeable symptoms. However, when the open spaces tighten enough to trap or pinch the spinal cord or nerve roots, spinal stenosis causes significant pain and symptoms.
Stenosis is most common in the cervical and lumbar spine. In the cervical spine, stenosis with nerve compression causes pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. In the lumbar spine, stenosis with nerve compression causes pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the low back, hip, leg and foot.
Some people experience severe and debilitating pain from spinal stenosis, and have difficulty walking or performing daily functions. Keep reading to learn the primary causes of spinal stenosis and the treatment options available to you.
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Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis
The general symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Bladder problems
- Bowel problems
Because narrowing can develop in several different areas within the spine, there are specific forms of the disease based on these locations. Cervical spinal stenosis, which affects the neck, and lumbar spinal stenosis, which affects the lower back, are the two most common forms. Thoracic spinal stenosis, which affects the middle and upper back, is less common. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, each form has specific symptoms.
What Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis pertains to the narrowing of the neck’s spinal canal,which is the open area of the bones that comprise the spinal column. The cervical spine is made up of a total of seven vertebrae situated between the head and the chest that protects the spinal cord.
The collection of nerves that make up the spinal cord allows us to feel, move, and take control of our bowel and bladder. When the spinal canal narrows, it may squeeze and compress the nerve roots or the spinal cord itself which can affect and alter spinal cord functions.
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Addressing Cervical Spine Instability With Prolotherapy Injections:
We have published dozens of papers on Prolotherapy injections as a treatment in difficult to treat musculoskeletal disorders. Prolotherapy is an injection technique utilizing simple sugar or dextrose. We are going to refer to two of these studies as they relate to cervical instability and a myriad of related symptoms including problems of digestion and a sense of chronic nausea in relation to the brainstem. It should be pointed out that we suggest in our research that Additional randomized clinical trials and more research into its use will be needed to verify its potential to reverse ligament laxity and correct the attendant cervical instability. Our research documents our experience with our patients.
In 2014, we published a comprehensive review of the problems related to weakened damaged cervical neck ligaments in The Open Orthopaedics Journal. We are honored that this research has been used in at least 6 other medical research papers by different authors exploring our treatments and findings and cited, according to Google Scholar, in more than 40 articles.
Ways To Relieve Pain From A Neck Problem
Whether you have chronic pain in your shoulder, your neck or both, dont wait to see an expert. Having a neck or shoulder specialist evaluate your complaints will determine where the main problem is and will get you started on the correct treatment, says Dr. Ricchetti.
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Headaches Due To Cervical Stenosis
Cervical stenosis refers to the narrowing of the open area of the vertebrae, or the spinal canal, in the neck. The spinal cord contains numerous nerves that run from the brain to the lower back,
Cervical stenosis refers to the narrowing of the open area of the vertebrae, or the spinal canal, in the neck. The spinal cord contains numerous nerves that run from the brain to the lower back, and these nerves are critical to movement, body control and other essential functions. When the cervical spinal canal, or the vertebrae between the head and chest, becomes narrowed, it can compress one or several pain-sensitive structures in this area.
The upper three spinal nerves are linked to the trigeminal nerve, which is the faces main sensory nerve. Other pain-sensitive structures in this area include nerves, the lining of the spine, the joints, ligaments and vertebral arteries in this area. When the nerves in the cervical vertebrae are irritated or inflamed, the pain can be felt in the had rather than the neck, leading to a cervicogenic headache.
Those who suffer from cervicogenic headaches can have a variety of symptoms, including:
- A reduced range of motion in their necks
- Pain that worsens with certain movements
- Pain that worsens when pressure is applied at certain points on their necks
- A one-sided headache
- Pain that radiates from the neck or back to behind the eye or the front of the head
- Physical therapy
Frequent Pain From The Condition Itself
Depending on the progression at the time of diagnosis, spinal stenosis can range from mild to severe. This directly correlates to how much compression the spinal canal is under, and how many nerves are pinched because of the pressure. The more your spinal stenosis has progressed, the more pain youre going to experience.
However, its important to note that the pain from spinal stenosis isnt the same from patient to patient. While it commonly manifests as acute pain in areas like the neck, arms, legs, and lower back, some patients may not even experience these symptoms at all. This varying pain and the different complications depending on where exactly the spine is compressed can make overall pain management difficult.
Because pain can also indicate other issues, its often an unaddressed by-product of spinal stenosis. However, its also entirely possible that the pain doesnt stem from compressed nerves alone. Cramped muscles can be triggered by nerve damage, and cramping is a common symptom of spinal stenosis.
Pain associated with spinal stenosis can also vary between frequency and intensity. Some activities like walking or standing up can trigger acute bouts of pain, while the progression of the condition can develop into chronic pain. These are further compounded by other complications that can occur as a response to this pain.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Because almost everyone has some osteoarthritis of the spine by age 50, you cant really prevent lumbar spinal stenosis. But you may be able to lower your risk. Here are some ways to keep your spine healthy:
- Get regular exercise. Exercise strengthens the muscles that support your lower back and helps keep your spine flexible. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, cycling, and weight training are all good for your back.
- Maintain good posture. Learn how to safely lift heavy objects. Also, sleep on a firm mattress and sit in a chair that supports the natural curves of your back.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more stress on your back and can contribute to developing symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis.
Can Spinal Stenosis Cause Hip Pain
Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that results in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
Some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms; while others may experience pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness. Symptoms can worsen over time.
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Is Surgery Necessary For Neck And Arm Pain
If the conservative treatments fail to improve symptoms, Dr. Ahuja will indicate which procedure will be most likely to reduce your pain. Depending on the condition, surgeries designed to relieve neck and arm pain can include cervical discectomy, or a cervical artificial disc replacement such as the Mobi-C® cervical disc.
Surgery is never our first choice. If Dr. Ahuja believes conservative treatments would be beneficial to try, there are a variety of options available. Our goal is to eliminate your pain or to get it to a level you can tolerate, hopefully without surgery.
What Happens After Spinal Surgery
If youve had a laminectomy, you may be in the hospital for a day or two. If youve had spinal fusion, you may have a three- to five-day hospital stay. If youre older, you may be transferred to a rehabilitation facility to receive additional care before going home.
You will be given pain medications and/or NSAIDs to reduce pain and swelling. You may be given a brace or corset to wear for comfort. You will likely be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider or physical therapist will recommend a light form of exercise right after spinal surgery to insure that your back does not stiffen and to reduce swelling. Your physical therapist will develop an individualized exercise plan to stretch and strengthen muscles to support your back and stabilize your spine.
Taking hot showers and using hot compresses may help alleviate pain. Additionally, using an ice pack may ease pain before and after exercise.
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Treating Muscle Spasms Caused By Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column over time, causing major health issues due to the compression of spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis is most common in older individuals and is most commonly accompanied by muscle spasms, or uncontrolled muscle movement. Areas of the body most affected by the condition include the lower back or the upper back .
There is no known cure for spinal stenosis, however a myriad of management and mitigation options exist. The most common approach to chronic management is a chiropractic one. Many patients have found relief from spinal stenosis through routine, regular chiropractic care, and a combination of exercise and lifestyle adjustments.
Posture Works provides invaluable assistance to patients in San Francisco, CA and Lakewood, CO suffering from spinal stenosis. Were focused on generating positive health outcomes and minimizing muscle spasms for those who live their lives with this condition.
Injury To The Vagus Nerve The Cause Of Nausea
We have two vagus nerves. One on the left side of the neck and the one on the right side of the neck. Among the many functions of the vagus nerve is that it provides 75% of the total input for the parasympathetic nervous system, aptly called the rest and digestsystem. The vagus nerve is responsible for managing our intestinal activity as well as managing the sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
- We use many tools in our office to assess problems of vagus nerve compression and how to treat these problems to restore normal function without the need for a vagus nerve stimulator implant. Vagus nerve stimulation
In some cases, our patients are recommended to use a vagus nerve stimulator between our Prolotherapy treatments. Prolotherapy treatments which are our main treatments are explained below in the research.
What are we seeing in this image?
Vagus nerve stimulators can stimulate the nucleus tractus solitarius. When food touches your mouth, your body begins sending chemical and mechanical messages to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract to prepare the digestive system for food intake. The vagal nerve conveys primary afferent information from the intestinal mucosa to the brain stem. Activation of vagal afferent fibers results in inhibition of food intake , gastric emptying, and stimulation of pancreatic secretion.
Vagus nerve stimulators can stimulate the nucleus tractus solitarius. What does this mean?
So this is what is going on with the vagus nerve:
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The Importance Of Not Damaging The Vagus Nerve In Pylorus
I want to use a study not to debate the use of pylorus-preserving gastrectomy, which may be a needed and necessary procedure for people with cancer, but to demonstrate a newfound awareness, of the role of the vagus nerve in digestion and the importance of not damaging or removing the vagus nerve during this surgery.
Some of you reading this article may have been recommended to this type of surgery because you are considered a very complicated non-cancer case and you are not responding to traditional treatments for the digestive and gastrointestinal distress you are suffering from. This surgery will remove part of your stomach. Pylorus-preserving gastrectomy means that the surgeons will leave behind that portion of your stomach with the pyloric valve intact. If the pyloric valve is removed, the food in the stomach will move too quickly into the small intestine and cause another problem, post-gastrectomy syndrome.
An October 2020 study produced by gastrointestinal surgeons gave us this concern about nerve preservation:
Function-preserving gastrectomy, especially pylorus-preserving gastrectomy, can improve the quality of life and has been widely recognized. With the development of surgical techniques and equipment, nerve preservation has become a new requirement in the era of precision medicine, but the preservation of the celiac branch of the vagal nerve remains controversial in gastric cancer surgery.
What is being said here?
Those functions outlined above include:
What Is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs through a tunnel formed by your vertebrae. The tunnel is called the spinal canal. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower part of your back. Stenosis, which means narrowing, can cause pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that go from your spinal cord to your muscles.
Spinal stenosis can happen in any part of your spine but is most common in the lower back. This part of your spine is called your lumbar area. Five lumbar vertebrae connect your upper spine to your pelvis.
If you have lumbar spinal stenosis, you may have trouble walking distances or find that you need to lean forward to relieve pressure on your lower back. You may also have pain or numbness in your legs. In more severe cases, you may have difficulty controlling your bowel and bladder. There is no cure for lumbar spinal stenosis, but you have many treatment choices.
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Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Spinal stenosis in your neck can cause cervical radiculopathysymptoms may include pain accompanied by tingling sensations, numbness and/or weakness. These symptoms may radiate downward from your neck into one or both shoulders, arms and/or hands. The pain caused by cervical spinal stenosis may be described as acute, episodic, occasional, or it may become chronic; its intensity can vary from mild to severe.
Other symptoms may include:
Hand Pain You Might Have Cervical Radiculopathy
Im having numbness and tingling in my hand. Sometimes there is pain that runs down my arm and shoulder. I thought I had carpal tunnel syndrome. Someone told me it could be coming from my neck. What does this mean?
Not all hand pain or numbness is coming from your carpal tunnel. You can also experience hand numbness caused by conditions in your neck.
Not all hand numbness is carpal tunnel syndrome. The symptoms you describe are typically caused from a nerve injury or irritation. The nerves that go to your arm start at your neck. If the nerve is being irritated or compressed at your neck, this is called cervical radiculopathy.
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Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis And Tests
The doctor will ask questions about your medical history. After that, they might order at least one of the following tests to figure out whether you have the condition:
- Medical history review. Your doctor will ask about your health history and risk factors.
- X-rays. These can show how the shape of your vertebrae has changed.
- Magnetic resonance imaging . By using radio waves, an MRI creates a 3-D image of your spine. It can show tumors, growths, and even damage to discs and ligaments.
- Computerized tomography . A CT scan uses X-rays to create a 3-D image. With the help of a dye injected into your body, it can show damage to soft tissue as well as issues with your bones.
Cervical Spine Stability And Restoring Lordosis
The cervical spine has a natural curve. It acts as a spring or shock absorber for the head. When this curve is gone because of injury, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, or degenerative cervical disc disease, not only are the arteries and nerves between the vertebrae not protected from the impact of walking or running or jumping or a bumpy car ride, they are subjected to compression from cervical spine instability caused by cervical ligaments that have also been damaged by injury or wear and tear and no longer hold the neck in correct alignment.
The cervical spine has a natural curve. It acts as a spring or shock absorber for the head. When this curve is gone, injury, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, or degenerative cervical disc disease
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What Is Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of one or more spaces within your spine. Less space within your spine reduces the amount of space available for your spinal cord and nerves that branch off your spinal cord. A tightened space can cause the spinal cord or nerves to become irritated, compressed or pinched, which can lead to back pain and sciatica.
Spinal stenosis usually develops slowly over time. It is most commonly caused by osteoarthritis or wear-and-tear changes that naturally occur in your spine as you age. For this reason, you may not have any symptoms for a long time even though some changes might be seen on X-rays or other imaging tests if taken for another reason. Depending on where and how severe your spinal stenosis is, you might feel pain, numbing, tingling and/or weakness in your neck, back, arms, legs, hands or feet.
Normal spine with no narrowing of the space around the spinal cord or nerve roots exiting the spinal column.
Can Spinal Stenosis Be Reversed Can Spinal Stenosis Get Better
No, spinal stenosis cant be reversed but the process might be able to be slowed if you take good care of yourself by maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly to keep your bones and muscles strong, and following your healthcare providers instructions to best manage any existing medical conditions you may have. If you do develop symptoms, there are many options up to and including surgery that can be considered to relieve your pain and other symptoms so you feel better.
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Surgical And Interventional Treatments:
- Epidural Injections may be tried when there is substantial irritation of the nerve root or other structures. Epidural injections are useful for pain relief, but do not generally create enough change in the underlying pathology to create permanent relief.
- Facet Blocks may be used when there is suspicion that degeneration has occurred in the joints connecting the vertebral bodies and is the source of discomfort. Generally they are tried as a diagnostic event with lidocaine first. If successful, more long-lasting radiofrequency blocks can be performed. This is not a permanent solution, but can be quite helpful to a select group of patients.
- Neurosurgical intervention is likely to be required when there is irreversible injury to the spinal cord or the nerve roots. Generally reserved as the last resort, surgical intervention may be inevitable in certain circumstances and attempting conservative treatment first may be futile. Careful clinical evaluation is the determining factor between continuing with conservative treatment and proceeding with surgical intervention.
Can Facial Numbness Or Pain Arise From A Bulging Disc Yes
It is interesting to note, that cervical disc bulges can also lead to facial symptoms . It is frequently seen as neck pain involving the shoulder and also extending to the face. However, sometimes it may even occur without any neck involvement. Earlier it was thought to occur due to an overt sensitivity of the patient. Sometimes it was even considered that the patient is feigning the pain for better insurance claims. And thus, the patient had to unnecessarily suffer an emotional predicament in making people believe that he/she does suffer from pain. And this was even after the cause of the disease , had already been seen on MRI but frequently ignored by physicians as normal. However, it has been documented in many research papers, that bulging cervical discs can cause facial pain, tingling or numbness along with neck pain or even without it. This is called cervicogenic facial pain.
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