THE SPINE

Cervical Spine Conditions


  • Cervical disc disease Disc degeneration in this area is a common cause of neck pain, most frequently felt as a stiff neck. In addition to having the low-grade pain of a stiff or inflexible neck, many patients with cervical disc degeneration have numbness, tingling, or even weakness in the neck, arms, or shoulders due to nerve compression.
  • Cervical canal stenosis - This is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the upper part of the spinal cord which places pressure on the spinal cord. The condition may be inherited and evident at birth or later in life due to degeneration of the spine, typically after age 50. With aging, the ligaments of the spine can thicken and harden (called calcification). Bones and joints may also enlarge, and bone spurs (called osteophytes) may form. Cervical spinal stenosis may cause pain, weakness, or numbness in the shoulders, arms, and legs; hand clumsiness and gait and balance disturbances can also occur.
  • Cervical myelopathy - This most commonly affects the elderly due to spondylosis with resultant cord compression. Its many causes of myelopathy include trauma, tumours, infection, vascular disease, degenerative conditions and demyelinating disorders. In younger patients, myelopathy may result from central disc herniations compressing the spinal cord. Symptoms include weakness and clumsiness of the hands, paresthesias in the hand and gait disturbances.
  • Cervical radiculopathy - This is a dysfunction most commonly of the 6th or 7th cervical nerve roots. In younger patients, it is a result of a disk herniation or an acute injury causing foraminal impingement of an exiting nerve. In older patients, it often results from osteophyte formation.
  • Neck Pain - Pain in the neck can be due to injury, a mechanical or muscular problem, a nerve trapped by a herniating disc, or from arthritis of the neck.
  • Brachalgia (arm pain) - A cervical nerve root pinched or trapped within the bony spinal canal or vertebral column(radiculopathy) can cause pain in the arm and shoulder.
  • Spinal Injuries (broken neck) - Trauma injuries to the spine, particularly a broken neck is an extremely serious injury, potentially with catastrophic consequences because spinal cord damage can cause quadriplegia or death. Typically, a blow to the head such as heading a football can break one of the seven neck vertebrae.
  • Spinal Tumours - Although rare, primary symptoms will be similar to those of several other back problems - back pains, sciatica, numbness, slight paralysis, scoliosis, kyphosis and fever. Malignant spinal tumours can spread via arteries, veins, the lymphatic system, and malignant tumours of the breast, prostate, lung, and kidney can spread into the spine. Whether malignant or benign, spinal tumours can be dangerous when they cause spinal canal compression, which may lead to neurological dysfunction (e.g. paralysis).