Neck pain is common as we age, and it is usually caused by degeneration of the discs and joints of the spine. A serious consequence of this degeneration is cervical stenosis.
It is most common in adults ages 30-50 and affects about twice as many men and women. Cervical stenosis leads to a variety of symptoms throughout the entire body, and neck pain is one of the most common primary symptoms.
In this article, we are going to discuss and learn more about cervical spinal stenosis, and its causes, and understanding cervical spine symptoms can make your life more productive and enjoyable. We will also discuss things to avoid with cervical spinal stenosis, treatments, and exercises that you can do with this condition. Occasionally a simple exercise can cause serious pain or injury. It is a simple way to deal with the illness and live a better quality of life as much as possible.
What is cervical spinal stenosis?
Cervical spinal stenosis is a form of spinal stenosis that is defined by a significant narrowing of the spinal column. While the spinal column is narrow and a natural component of the human body, any amount that causes pressure on the spinal cord itself may cause flare-up symptoms and significant pain.
Spinal stenosis may cause various problems; some are easily fixed through spinal stenosis exercise or a diligent lifestyle change.
Two types of spinal stenosis
Stenosis of the spine is classified into two types: lumbar and cervical. The most common form of spinal stenosis is lumbar, but cervical spinal stenosis can be more dangerous since it compresses the spinal cord.
- When the spine is compressed (choked) due to lumbar stenosis, the spinal nerve roots are affected. Symptoms of sciatica often result from this. An individual with sciatica may experience pain down the back of their thigh along the sciatic nerve.
- Cervical spinal stenosis is a type of spinal stenosis that affects the neck. When the spinal cord is compressed, it can cause much-increased danger. There can be serious symptoms associated with this condition, such as major weakness or paralysis of the body.
Rarely, lumbar stenosis produces severe, persistent, and disabling leg pain, along with leg weakness. Typically, patients with lumbar stenosis suffer from leg pain when they walk, and this pain is relieved when they sit. In addition to circulatory problems in the legs, claudication can also be caused by this condition.
Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis
The most obvious symptom associated with cervical spinal stenosis is chronic neck problems. Many medical practitioners advise against activities that cause such symptoms. Some suggest that you avoid walking on rocky roads. Many chiropractors advise that you continue to exercise as soon as possible. Inactivity may hurt less but may also result in muscular deformities in the neck. This helps you maintain regular exercise to strengthen your muscles. Besides neck pain, you need to consider another condition.
Often if the spine narrows around the neck, it causes cervical spinal stenosis, and the symptoms are not identical. Some people may lack signs of cervical spinal stenosis. The main cause of cervical spine stenosis is pressure from nerves on the spinal cord and nerve. It can hinder nerves from functioning properly. Many people with spinal stenosis are now suffering from similar ailments, such as sciatica, radiation, or myelopathy.
Other common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- pain in one or both arms
- tingling sensation
- numbness in your arms or hands
- emotional distress
- Myelopathy, or damage to your spinal cord
- poor coordination
- sleep problems
Causes of cervical spinal stenosis
Cervical spinal stenosis may occur from spinal malalignments in the neck and spinal cords. This is typically directly caused by subluxations of the vertebra. It could also occur from poor posture as well as by age itself. Sometimes accidents and tumor growth may also worsen the disease.
The main cause of cervical spinal degeneration is arthritis, which is the reason the disease usually starts in adults over 60 a year. Arthritis damages cartilage and thereby causes spinal cords to shrink or shift. Other causes of spinal stenosis are genetics and injuries.
Things to avoid with cervical spinal stenosis
Certain activities should be avoided or limited if you have cervical spinal stenosis. In certain cases, a doctor may recommend avoiding exercises that strain your neck. In some cases, that might mean giving up contact sports.
One thing that you can easily avoid doing is slouching. Cervical spinal stenosis symptoms can be aggravated by poor posture. Spending a lot of time at the computer may cause you to have poor posture. Getting an ergonomic chair or taking frequent standing breaks can help if you notice you slump.
Other activities you should avoid include:
- Avoid loading a rounded back – Free weights could be a very helpful treatment for those with back injuries, as long as the practitioner has been approved before. Certain exercises can greatly strengthen muscle-supporting spines and allow for more stable and optimum positioning during various activities as well as positions. A free-weight workout can help address several body imbalances, like uneven muscle tone on the leg and hips and shoulder pain resulting in increased back pain. However, exercise without proper training can cause serious injury.
- Avoid long walks or running – A few spinal stenosis exercises have a positive effect on you but overly used or improper ones can cause pain. While running and jogging have been widely viewed as “easy”, as they are associated with low- or low-impact jogs can also be considered a high-impact workout, unless the trail is too steep. Repeated injuries to the knee and shin area are nothing like the ideal. In contrast, a prolonged walk or longer distances, in general, can aggravate back pain. Take note of shorter tolerable distances.
- Avoid certain stretches and postures – As earlier mentioned, back extensions have been performed in various poses and spinal stenosis activities including the cobra’s bridges and lower back exercises with hyperextension. While strengthening upper back muscles should be incorporated into exercise, it is better not to extend the spine. Instead, look at isometric exercises which focus on stabilizing backs and keeping them stiff against outside forces.
- Avoid excessive back extension – A common stretch after sitting for an extended period is standing back or lumbar extension. This involves stepping up straight with your hands on your hips. Sometimes this compression in vertebrae helps make room in the spine and push inflamed tissue out. But in some situations, they can result in more severe symptoms and more pain.
- Avoid contact sports – If it’s ok for us to exercise, try to stick to a sport that is safe from impact or contact. In many sports, the proper training may result in severe damage or a serious injury, especially if you are in contact with another person physically and emotionally.
- Avoid too much bed rest – It seems tempting to sleep wherever possible, but too much bed rest only causes muscle atrophy. Keeping active is beneficial in reducing pain as well as improving life expectancy – spend a few hours a day sweating and moving.
- Avoid carrying a heavy pack on one shoulder – Ensure that you carry the backpack at shoulder level to the weight. Over a long period, a backpack based on your shoulder might interfere with your walk or be pulled off your neck. Moreover, these conditions could increase cervical spine problems.
- Avoid delaying treatment and ignoring neck pain and stiffness – Naturally, there is no excuse for pain or stiffness. In the case of spinal stenosis cervical, we must take a careful look around the neck. Pain that persists rapidly and does not resolve within one week needs medical evaluations and treatment. The case is just as serious with cervical stenosis as with other conditions. The delay in treatment only makes the situation worse. Your treatment choices are reduced.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach – When you sleep on your belly, you should always twist your shoulders and back. These strain your neck and will cause spinal stenosis in your neck. A gut-like condition also puts pressure on the spine. Avoid this. Sleep either in front of you or on your back.
- Avoid cradling your phone up to your ears or looking down at it for a long time – The fact of holding up the smartphone to the ear might stress your pelvic spine. It is a very awkward position and forces each joint. Instead, it is better to have an audio headset if the phone has long conversations. Keeping the eye up is adding stress to the neck. In addition to causing cervical stenosis, you could pinch a nerve and cause other complications.
Treatment for cervical spinal stenosis
A doctor will determine the type of treatment he or she recommends based on the severity of your stenosis and your symptoms. Physical therapy and home treatment are likely to both be part of your treatment plan. Surgery is not always the first option, but it may be needed in some cases.
Here are some suggestions a doctor may make:
- Prescription medications – Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are over-the-counter pain relievers your doctor may suggest if your symptoms are mild.
- Physical therapy – Having a neck massage from a physical therapist or neck massage devices that you can use at home can reduce neck pain and inflammation. This can also improve the neck’s range of motion.
- Intravenous epidurals – Injections of cervical epidural steroids may benefit people suffering from back and neck pain temporarily.
Managing spinal stenosis
When you have spinal stenosis you have to have a different lifestyle. You can stop doing certain tasks. Sometimes at-home treatments or exercises are necessary for a comfortable lifestyle. Sometimes it may be necessary to seek medical treatment. Tell me one thing that can be helpful for cervical spine pain.
You are not obligated to give everything away, but the effects of spinal stenosis are likely to get better after exercise, neck massages, as well as in-house treatment. Specific exercises can ease nerve pain and temporarily expand spinal channels.
In particular, yoga helps reduce inflammation and pain. You can consult a doctor before taking this test and see a doctor. Some activities, like swimming, help relieve pressure and relieve symptomatic pain. Exertion in water reduces your weight. When someone suffers from spinal stenosis from arthritis, water-based activities can help relieve the pain in the limbs.
Cervical spinal stenosis exercises you can do at home
Spinal stenosis is a severe spinal disorder that requires medical diagnosis and a course in care. But if treatment permits using exercise as a preferred alternative to something potentially more invasive many alternatives can be individualized to you.
Exercises and stretches include the following:
For some time you can perform this on a wall. Stand facing the edge. As long as the spine meets the wall, slowly bring the head back towards the wall with an eye toward the chest. Hold in the same position for a minute and come back to the start. Repeat for ten repeat steps in 5- 7 sets.
Forward neck stretches
Start by tucking your chin using two fingers of one hand. With your other hand, place it on the back of your head and gently pull it towards your chest. As soon as you feel a stretch in the back of your neck, hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat it 3 times.
Median nerve slider
Exercises like this will relieve tension on the nerves traveling down your arm from your neck. If this exercise causes any pain, stop.
- Start in an upright position with your shoulders slightly back and your head facing forward.
- Bring your hand towards your head, similar to the “flex” position for bodybuilders, with your arm out to the side.
- Place the opposite arm on top of the other shoulder.
- Straighten your elbow and extend your wrist and fingers (facing up).
- A stretch should be felt along the inside of your arm.
- Slowly bring your ear toward the opposite shoulder (opposite to the one that is straightening) as you straighten (the “flexed”) elbow.
- Straighten your elbow as far as you are comfortable.
- Feel free to return back to the start position if you begin to feel any pain or numbness during the exercise.
- If you are experiencing symptoms in both arms, repeat on the other side.
- Depending on the severity of your symptoms, repeat 10-20 times.