Cervical spinal stenosis is a condition whereby the spinal canal narrows. It often occurs due some negative transformations in the spine that arise mostly due to aging. As these changes occur, the discs along the canal may decrease in height and eventually collapse. This will leave reduced space for the nerves. On the other hand, thickening of the spinal ligaments can also lead to this situation. For this condition to be diagnosed, a physical examination will be required as well as the patient’s medical history. It is not symptomatic but may cause pain in the arms or hands as well as numbness. Some patients respond positively to non-surgical treatments. However, if they do not respond to medication then a spine surgery will be recommended in order to enlarge the spinal canal.
The type of surgical approach will depend on the surgeon. Some may choose to use the anterior approach while others may prefer the posterior approach. On the other hand, the approach will also be determined by the location of the compression. The success rates of a cervical spinal stenosis surgery are high with most patients showing significant improvement. Most patients are able to resume their normal daily activities and most of them have been reported to having reduced or no pain at all. For the surgery to yield more positive outcome, fusing a joint is very effective as it will prevent future occurrence of the pain caused by an unstable segment.
Just like any other surgery, there are certain risks that are involved with this surgery. The surgeon or doctor should be able to discuss them with the patient prior to the operation. Some of these risks include anesthetic risks. The doctor should also notify the patient of a possible lack of improvement. The nerves or spinal cord can also be injured during the operation as well as the possibility of an infection. However, in case of an infection, the patient can be given antibiotics and this is manageable and curable hence no need for panic.
Patients should not expect instant recovery after the surgery although the doctor should inform them prior to the surgery. Pain medications are administered along with a few lessons on the correct posture while standing or sitting during the healing process. Some activities especially those that may strain the spinal area will be restricted. For successful recovery, it is very important to follow the doctor’s instructions.
The doctor can also recommend regular exercise or physical therapy that involves low impact. The type of therapy will depend on the surgical approach used during surgery. The therapists should consider the wound’s healing process and also check frequently for any indication of an infection. They should also put in to mind the patient’s psychological and physical condition as well as the patient’s level of motivation.
Cervical spinal stenosis surgery has a high success rate and patients should not fear having it done to correct the condition. The risks are also very mild with the correct surgery. Following the doctor’s instructions and treatment plan should lead to a faster recovery which takes roughly three to four weeks.