Can moderate canal cervical stenosis get worse?


Quick Answer

Moderate canal cervical stenosis is likely to get worse over time. Bone spurs may form around damaged disk and facet joints of the spine. These spurs slowly compress and eventually narrow the spinal canal, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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Full Answer

When the cervical disk or cushion between vertebrae becomes dry and worn, the vertebrae begin to collapse, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. This collapse causes poor alignment of the vertebrae and abnormal pressure on the articular cartilage, which is a slick, smooth material covering the ends of the bones in a joint. As this material is worn and injured, osteoarthritis of the cervical joints occurs.

Bone spurs slowly develop on the disks and facets of the vertebrae in compensation for the wearing of articular cartilage. When this happens, the spinal canal begins to narrow and is compressed by bone growth, states Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

Usually, the first symptom people notice is spasticity of gait, reports Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. This means that their walk becomes hesitant, and muscle power in the legs is lost. A person's hands may become numb, tingly and unable to grip an objects. Wasting weakness or atrophy of muscles occurs because nerve input is compromised.

Spinal myelopathy, or cervical spinal stenosis, is a serious condition. If a patient is diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis, a doctor might ask the person to work with a physical therapist to alleviate symptoms. However, if the situation is growing worse, causing pain and debility, the physician may recommend surgery, explains Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

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