Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

A spinal cord is found within the nerve tissue whereby a bony pipe in the spinal column protects it. In some instances, the gap in this tube can become narrow thus threatening the spinal cord from getting squeezed. The narrowing of the column in the spinal cord is referred to as cervical spinal stenosis. In essence, cervical spinal stenosis develops gradually over time. Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms do not appear at once when disintegration is the basis of the problem. However, in case of an intense injury or a herniated disc, the symptoms reveal themselves almost immediately.

What do the Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Feel Like?

Most people suffering from this condition experience neck pain or severe headaches. Some of them feel pain in the shoulders and the hands, but they do not experience neck pain. These symptoms occur due to pinched spinal nerves in the neck which also results to numbness and weakness. In case the stenosis has reached the extreme points where it begins to push the nerves and the spinal cord, the patient can experience a condition known as myelopathy. The symptoms include changes in handwriting or difficulty in driving, difficulty buttoning shirts or even using zippers.

Another Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptom is difficulty in maintaining balance when walking. A patient begins to show some changes in the walking style. Unfortunately, such a patient fails to understand where the walking problem is coming from. In essence, pressure on the spinal cord area near the neck begins to affect the nerves and muscles in the legs, thus resulting to changes on how the patient walks. In the long run, the walking style gets bouncy and they lose their legs muscle power. This condition is known as spasticity.

Again, spinal stenosis patients also have problems in using their hands. They usually complain that their hands feel numb. They also lose the ability to hold and release items because the muscles alongside the edge of the palm and fingers are already weak. Nerve pressure also causes arms' skin to become numb and also general hands muscles' weakness.

Moreover, most patients develop shoulder weakness, especially those who already experience numbness in their arms. This trend mostly occurs when the spinal cord is squeezed together in the upper division of the neck. The organs that get affected the most are the shoulder blade muscles which protect the top and exterior side of the shoulder. These muscles become weak and start to show signs of wasting since they do not get enough nerve input.

Last but not least, pressure exerted on the spinal cord also harms one's bowel and bladder. This is another Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptom that makes one feel the need to urinate frequently. Similarly, even if the pressure is mild, getting the urine to flow the normal way becomes a challenge. These disturbances causes people to experience a frail flow of urine, thus the urine dribbles or leaks. They also do strain when emptying their bowels. In extreme cases, patients are unable to freely take control of their bladder or bowels, resulting to a condition known as incontinence.