What is Cervical Stenosis?
The vertebrae are a series of bones connected to each other forming the neck, also known as the cervical spine. The spinal canal, which encloses the spinal cord, runs through the vertebrae. Cervical stenosis is the condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal. It occurs with age as the intervertebral discs starts to lack water content and hardens. The discs can shrink in height and stick out into the spinal canal. Spinal joints also bulge and protrude into the spinal canal.
What are the treatments for Cervical Stenosis?
Depending on the stage of cervical stenosis, treatments may be operative or non-operative. Non-operative or conservative treatment includes cervical stenosis physical therapy.
Patients should understand that cervical stenosis physical therapy would not reduce the narrowing of the spinal canal or bring it back to normal size. The goal of cervical stenosis physical therapy is long-term pain management and increased function that will enable the patient to control pain effectively and function normally without having to undergo surgery.
Cervical stenosis physical therapy starts with improving flexibility in the neck and shoulders through stretching exercises and postural awareness. It is also important to increase circulation and develop endurance in the arms with cardiovascular exercises such as swimming and treadmill exercises. Your therapist may also add strengthening exercises in your program. While most of these exercises are always under professional supervision, your therapist will also provide you with exercises that you can perform independently.