Cervical Spine Stenosis

The cervical spine connects the spinal bones (of the neck) and the skull and thoracic vertebrae.

There is a canal through which the spinal cord passes from the skull to the lower back. Cervical spinal stenosis is the loss of thickness of the canal at the neck region. This stenosis/narrowing causes compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots that pass through it.

Causes of the cervical spine stenosis

  • Degeneration with age or wear and tear affects the normal structure of the cervical spine or neck bones
  • Any injury or trauma to the neck
  • Overgrowth of bone ( osteophyte formation) due to wear and tear
  • Condition like osteoarthritis of the cervical spine, facet joint arthritis, herniated cervical disc
  • Poor curvature of the neck like scoliosis ( sideways or “S” shape curvature of the spine), Torticollis
  • The thickness of the spinal ligaments
  • Bone tumors


  • Pain in neck
  • Numbness in the neck, shoulders, and arm
  • Tingling sensation in the neck, shoulder, and arm
  • You can also feel weakness in the shoulder and arm
  • Pain may radiate in the shoulder, arm
  • You can experience difficulty in balancing and walking


  • Physical examination by your doctor, and your medical history
  • X-Ray of the neck or cervical spine will show the bone problems and osteophytes
  • MRI and CT scan is more specific and also shows the severity of the disease
  • Electromyography performed by your doctor if necessary


  • Conservative:
    • Medication to reduce pain
    • Physiotherapy to improve the neck movements, neck muscle strengthening exercises
    • Spinal injections are also prescribed to some patient
    • Use neck brace or neck supports to maintain the neck posture
  • Surgical
      Failure of non-operative methods of treatment to improve the condition may prompt surgical intervention to decompress the spinal cord.

    • Laminectomy
    • Foraminotomy
    • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
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