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Cervical Lateral Stenosis And Chiropractic Treatment



Cervical Lateral Stenosis A ‘Trapped Nerve in the Neck'

Lateral canal stenosis also called foraminal stenosis is a condition when there is a narrowing of the canal where the spinal nerve exits from the spine, the so-called lateral recess. 

It can occur to varying degrees from mild irritation to severe compression of the spinal nerve. And therefore, the symptoms might vary from one person to the next, and subsequently, the best treatment will depend on your condition, ranging from conservative care such as chiropractic treatment to surgery in more severe cases.

It is therefore important to find out why the symptoms are there and not just say ‘it is a trapped nerve’.

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Symptoms Of Cervical Lateral Stenosis

Apart from neck pain, lateral stenosis can also cause arm symptoms, such as numbness, tingling and weakness in the arm and hand.

Neck pain can also give shoulder pain and headaches, so that is a possibility too.

The more severe the stenosis is the more symptoms you are likely to feel in the arm. Ranging from tingling to pain to numbness to weakness and wasting of the muscles.

Sometimes there can be central stenosis, which affects the central canal resulting in compression of the spinal cord. This is more likely if you have symptoms in both arms or legs. This can also cause problems with your bowel and bladder control.


Causes Of Cervical Lateral Stenosis

There can be different causes of lateral stenosis. Some are more difficult to manage than others. The individual causes can also be more or less severe, which means that the treatment you need may vary.

  • It can be caused by wear and tear of the spine also called osteoarthritis (or spondylosis, if it affects the spine). It occurs if spurs form and narrows the canal where the spinal nerve exits. It is sometimes caused by wear and tear of the facet joints (facet arthropathy) and also spurs from the uncovertebral joints in the neck (cervical spine).
  • It is sometimes caused by disc injuries, disc herniations and reduction of the height of the disc.
  • It can be caused by a Spondylolisthesis, which is a slippage of the vertebra, which is easily spotted on an x-ray.
  • It can also be caused by cysts and tumours, but they are thankfully rare.


Treatment Of Cervical Lateral Stenosis 

Lateral stenosis can be caused by disc injuries and if it is a disc, it is more likely to resolve with chiropractic treatment. It depends on the severity of the injury. You can see the cases below which illustrates what cases are likely to be helped by Chiropractic treatment.

If you have bony stenosis it is more difficult to control the symptoms and you might need surgery to get help. 

Decompression surgery may be recommended if your symptoms have not improved with conservative care. The surgery usually requires a hospital stay for a couple of days and recovery takes between 4 to 8 weeks.


Here are a couple of examples of conditions that are likely to respond well to chiropractic care:

Case 1: A problem that is likely to respond well to our care is if you have a disc injury which creates inflammation around the nerve, the nerve is likely to swell up and take more space in the canal and therefore cause a temporary stenosis. Once the inflammation settles the nerve symptoms settle.

Case 2: A problem that is likely to respond well to our care is if you have a mild bony stenosis and it has been recently aggravated by physical activity and you have developed neck and arm pain.

Here is an example of a condition that is not likely to respond well to chiropractic care:

Case 3: You have had a long period of recurring neck and arm pain just relying on painkillers to control symptoms. The symptoms are progressively getting worse and you are feeling a gradual weakening of your arm and can visibly see that the muscles are getting smaller. (Often caused by worsening  bony stenosis due to severe degenerative changes.)

It is therefore important to find out why the symptoms are there and not just say ‘it is a trapped nerve’.

If you have any questions, please contact Isis Chiropractic Centres here.

Book a chiropractic assessment to help get a diagnosis and effective treatment programme here.


Want To Know More? Request a Callback Here!

Or Give Us a Call, To Find Out How We Can Help You.

Milton Keynes: 01908 307075  |  Northampton: 01604 460200   |  Aylesbury: 01296 489231


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