Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the canal that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots. Sometimes bone and other tissue grow into this canal and press on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. This can happen as a part of aging.
When the narrowing happens in your neck, it's called cervical spinal stenosis. It often causes stiffness, pain, numbness, and weakness in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or legs. It can even cause problems with your balance, coordination, and bowel or bladder control. But some people have no symptoms.
You may be able to get relief from the symptoms of spinal stenosis by taking pain medicine. Your doctor may suggest physiotherapy and exercises to keep your spine strong and flexible. Some people try steroid shots to reduce swelling. If pain and numbness in your neck, arms, or legs are still so bad that you cannot do your normal activities, you may need surgery.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 21, 2017
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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