Cervical Stenosis Neck Pain

Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal cord. It is described as a “slow motion injury” that stems from old physical injuries. Cervical stenosis commonly causes neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and also tingling into the hands (often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome). The standard medical approach for treating cervical stenosis is either medication to mask the pain or surgery. When the narrowing is great enough, indeed, surgery might be required. However, before you go down that route, there is a non-invasive procedure that does not involve any neck stretching, twisting or cracking that can help.


What causes Cervical Stenosis?

Cervical stenosis arises from old physical injuries: car accidents, whiplash, sports injuries, falls, etc. Although you may not have experienced pain at the time, these types of impacts can damage the ligaments that stabilize the vertebrae in your neck.

According to research, whiplash can occur with an impact as little as 5mph. Even without broken bones, bleeding or bruising, these types of injuries can affect the health and function of the bones in your neck.

If you get proper treatment right away, your body will heal the right way. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people don’t seek treatment. Too often, people go to the emergency department, have a brief exam, and then go home because they are told, “They just have a soft tissue injury. It will go away on its own.”

That is the problem! The pain might go away, but the problem does not.


The Average Person doesn’t experience problems for 15 Years

What happens now over the next months, years or even decades is what leads to cervical stenosis. In an effort to stabilize your injuries, your own body produces arthritic changes in the bones and discs in your neck. Over time, however, these temporary fixes start to accumulate.

Think of it like a bicycle left to rust in the rain for months, years or decades. The more rust, the more problems.

Your neck is designed to move. Unfortunately, if it does not move the right way, these degenerative damages begin to create friction against your spinal cord.

Your spinal cord actually oscillates approximately 1/2” up-and-down 100,000x per day with your heartbeat. Imagine you have a small pebble in your shoe, or even a little bit of sand. You may not experience any immediate problems. After a whole day, however, even small grains of sand produce irritation.

Disc damage and degenerative arthritis stemming from old injuries are like grains of sand, but in your neck! It is a condition known as cervical myelopathy (commonly misdiagnosed as neuropathy).

In many cases, it takes 15 years for the average person to experience enough neck pain that they seek proper treatment. … Something they should have done 15 years ago! At this point, however, they have X-Ray, CT or MRI scans where they finally discover the problem: the disc damage, degenerative arthritis and the cervical stenosis that is causing their pain.

That is how cervical stenosis happens. Now, we don’t have a time machine to go back 15 years and undo the damage. However, your body never forgets how to repair itself. In other words, there are still many options that can help.


How do you treat your Neck?

The average person takes better care of their teeth, their fingernails and their hair than they do their neck. Still, your cervical spine is the literal lifeline between your brain and body.

When it comes to treating cervical stenosis, the common medical approach is simply to prescribe medication to cover-up the symptoms: pain killers, anti-inflammatories, etc. The problem here is that cervical stenosis is a physical problem that requires a physical solution. Medication alone (even natural supplements) can only get you so far.

Now, if the damage is ever so severe, neck surgery might be the only option. Short of losing all motor function and feeling in your hands, most spinal surgeons agree that surgery should be the option of last resort. They first recommend for you to work with a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist or acupuncturist to manage your condition.

In this area, here is a where a unique approach known as the Blair procedure can help.


Cervical Spine Specialists

The Blair procedure is a specialized approach in a field known as upper cervical chiropractic. Rather than using spinal manipulation to force the joints in your spine into position, the Blair procedure is a personalized and gentle approach that does not use any twisting, popping or neck cracking,

The procedure involves a series of precise diagnostic tests to determine the exact location, direction or degree of instability in your neck. These tests are known as digital articular X-rays (DAX) or CBCT scans. Because every human being has unique anatomy, it is important to take a personalized approach. The correction then is like putting a key in a lock.

Even when people have disc damage, degenerative arthritis and cervical stenosis, if you can restore normal motion and function in your neck, it can make a profound difference to improve your pain and quality of life.

Even if you have seen a generalist chiropractor or physical therapist in the past, the Blair procedure is different.

If you are looking for a chiropractor in Spokane, visit our home page more information. To schedule a new patient appointment with our Mead (north Spokane) or South Hill offices, complete a new patient request form here or call us direct at 509-315-8166.