What are the symptoms of severe cervical foraminal stenosis?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Symptoms of severe cervical foraminal stenosis can vary depending on the specific nerves that are being compressed or irritated. However, some common symptoms may include:

1. Neck and shoulder pain: Severe stenosis in the cervical spine can cause persistent pain in the neck and shoulders. The pain may be sharp or dull and can radiate down the arm or into the head.

2. Numbness and tingling: As the nerves become compressed, you may experience numbness and tingling sensations in the arm, hand, fingers, or even the face. This can occur on one side or both sides of the body, depending on the location and severity of the stenosis.

3. Weakness: Muscle weakness may develop in the affected arm or hand due to the compromised nerve function. This weakness can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as gripping objects, lifting, or even buttoning clothes.

4. Loss of coordination: Cervical foraminal stenosis can also affect your balance and coordination. You may find it challenging to walk steadily or perform activities that require precise movements, such as writing or using utensils.

5. Shooting pain: Some individuals with severe stenosis may experience shooting pain that travels from the neck down the arm, commonly known as radicular pain. This pain can be intense and may worsen with certain movements or positions.

6. Muscle spasms: In more severe cases, muscle spasms in the neck, shoulders, or arms may occur. These spasms can be painful and make it challenging to find relief or maintain a comfortable position.

7. Bladder or bowel problems: While less common, severe cervical foraminal stenosis can lead to loss of bladder or bowel control. This is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.

It is important to note that symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience all of these symptoms. Additionally, the severity of symptoms can also depend on the extent and duration of the stenosis. If you suspect you may have severe cervical foraminal stenosis, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.