Your cervical spine, the seven vertebrae that form and support your neck, holds up the weight of your head and has a wide range of motion that allows you to move your neck in multiple directions with ease.
Because your neck continually bears weight, has limited support -- with only a few muscles and ligaments holding the neck in place -- and can move in so many directions, it gets a lot of wear and tear.
Over the years, this strain causes your spine to age, leading to a narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing compresses your spinal cord, nerves, and nerve roots (the place where nerves exit the spine to travel throughout the body).
In some cases, the body’s response to arthritis in the spine leads to bone growth, which causes bone spurs to form on your cervical spine. When these spurs make your spinal canal even narrower, the nerve root exits, irritating your nerves and increasing your pain.
When you have cervical stenosis, the pressure on your nerves causes pain, especially in the neck, shoulder, and arm. This pain may be constant or come and go.
Beyond pain, you may experience tingling in your arms and hands, and sometimes they go numb. You may notice muscle weakness or have difficulty gripping things. Fine motor skills sometimes become more difficult.
Although Dr. Shifflett can’t cure cervical stenosis, he can reduce your pain and restore spinal function. If you have a mild case of stenosis, he may recommend minimally invasive procedures to restore your spinal function and reduce, or eliminate, your pain.
Often, Dr. Shifflett suggests a non-fusion approach to spinal surgery, including:
If you think cervical stenosis causes your neck pain, seek the counsel of a fellowship-trained spine expert. Call today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shifflett or book your initial consultation online.