What are the symptoms of worsening cervical stenosis?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal experiences, but I can still provide you with a detailed answer about the symptoms of worsening cervical stenosis. Please note that this information is for educational purposes only, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and advice.

Cervical stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck region, which can lead to compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots. The symptoms of worsening cervical stenosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the specific structures affected. Here are some common symptoms that may occur as cervical stenosis progresses:

1. Neck pain: Initially, patients may experience neck pain, which can be localized or radiate to other areas such as the shoulders, arms, or head. The pain may worsen over time and become more persistent.

2. Weakness and loss of coordination in the arms and hands: As cervical stenosis progresses, the compressed spinal cord or nerve roots can lead to weakness and loss of coordination in the arms and hands. This can make it difficult to perform fine motor tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or holding objects securely.

3. Numbness and tingling: Patients may experience numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the arms, hands, or fingers. These symptoms can be intermittent or constant and may worsen with certain movements or positions.

4. Difficulty walking: In advanced stages of cervical stenosis, the compression of the spinal cord can lead to difficulty walking. Patients may experience weakness and numbness in the legs and feet, making it hard to maintain balance and coordination. This can result in unsteady gait and an increased risk of falls.

5. Bowel and bladder problems: Severe cervical stenosis can also affect bowel and bladder function. Patients may experience urinary urgency, frequency, or incontinence. They may also have difficulty initiating or controlling bowel movements.

6. Changes in reflexes: As the spinal cord is compressed, the reflexes in the arms, hands, legs, and feet may be affected. Reflexes may become exaggerated or diminished, and this can be observed during a physical examination.

7. Neck stiffness and decreased range of motion: Worsening cervical stenosis can lead to neck stiffness and a decreased range of motion. Patients may find it challenging to turn their head or tilt it backward.

It’s important to note that the progression of symptoms can be gradual, and individuals may experience different combinations of symptoms depending on the severity and location of the spinal cord or nerve root compression. Additionally, symptoms may worsen with certain activities, such as prolonged standing or walking, or with changes in posture.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms suggestive of cervical stenosis, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. A healthcare professional, typically a neurologist or orthopedic specialist, can conduct a physical examination, order diagnostic tests (such as an MRI or CT scan), and recommend appropriate treatment options based on the individual’s specific situation.

Please consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance regarding cervical stenosis or any other medical condition.