There are many changes that occur as human being advance in age. Among the common changes is reduced hormone production and degenerative diseases. Degenerative diseases can be caused by low hormone level in the body or low nutrient in the body, among other causes. Spine is one of the body part that suffer degenerative disease. Some of the spine degenerative disorder includes, Spinal stenosis, degenerative spondylolisthesis, adult scoliosis, osteoporotic compression fractures, degenerative disc disease and Cervical Spinal Stenosis. We will focus on the last disorder.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis (CSS) is spinal stenosis occurring on neck region. CSS is a narrowing of spinal cord space that results in pressure on the spinal cord. This disorder mostly affects seniors from 60 years and above. Cervical stenosis is a disorder in which neck spinal nerves or spinal cord are compressed.
CSS is age related disorder affecting seniors above 60 years. It is caused by changes in size and shape of the spinal cord. Age causes thickening bone ligaments (tissues that connect bones or "bulging of spongy discs” spongy discs between the bones of spine bulge out than normal.
Aging can also cause excessive growth of the bones in joints and lead to destruction of tissues that cover bones.
All these conditions can cause CSS by narrowing the spinal cord. But in some cases, the condition can be inborn.
If there is spinal cord dysfunction, symptoms can include weakness, pain and numbness in the hands, arms, shoulders, legs and feet. The sufferer may also have troubles with coordination and balance. Some of the common symptoms include:
CSS diagnosis is based on physical exam and history of symptoms. Your doctor will check neck movements if it cause weakness, numbness or pain.
If CSS is suspected, imaging test of the neck and back will be recommended to confirm diagnose and also show what may be causing narrowing of spinal canal. Some of the imaging test that may be used include; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, and computed tomography (CT) scans.
Magnetic resonance imaging is one of the most recent, sophiscated and recommended method to diagnose CSS because they show more structures, including muscles, nerves, and ligaments than seen on other methods.
Though there are many drugs that can be used to ease pain, the only effective treatment is surgical decompression of spinal canal.
If the patient also suffers radiculopathy, conservative treatment such as activity modification NSAIDS, and exercises may help relieve the arm pain.
In most cases, CSS symptoms will never improve without surgical decompression of the affected parts.
Physical therapy, analgesic medications, anti-inflammatory, Chiropractic treatments and activity modification may also be used to manage and treat cervical spinal stenosis.
Weight loss has also been found to relieve symptoms and also slow progression.