Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis may include stiffness, numbness, pain or weakness affecting the neck, shoulders, arms, legs or hands, as stated by WebMD. Additional symptoms may include clumsiness of the hands, coordination problems, and a tingling or burning sensation in the extremities.
Cervical spinal stenosis is common in individuals over age 50 and often causes no symptoms, as affirmed by WebMD. Symptoms normally only appear when the nerves or spinal cord are squeezed, and the symptoms tend to develop gradually over a long period. Cervical stenosis can potentially cause severe issues, such as permanent loss of strength and feeling in the extremities, and a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Doctors diagnose cervical stenosis based on the patient's reported symptoms and a physical exam, as stated by WebMD. They may then confirm the diagnosis with imaging tests, such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans. Blood tests may also be used to rule out other conditions, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency. Individuals may take pain relievers to control symptoms of mild cervical stenosis, but severe cases may require decompressive surgery that involves the removal of some of the bone, tissue or disc that is pressing on the nerve roots.