What is cervical spinal stenosis?

Anatomy of the spine

The spinal column is located at the heart of the musculoskeletal system. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum. Intervertebral discs are located in between the vertebrae, and these 23 discs increase the spine’s elasticity and mobility. They also serve as shock absorbers.

The spinal canal

The spinal canal is positioned at the centre of the spine. Vertebral arches (with spinous processes) are located at the back of the canal. Although spinal stenosis can occur at any level of the spinal canal, it most commonly occurs in the neck and the lower back.

At these levels, the spinal canal contains the spinal cord and the nerves that branch off the canal. The spinal cord is surrounded by membranes, the so-called dura, which contain cerebrospinal fluid. At the level of each vertebra nerves branch off the spinal cord at the left and right sides of the spine, which leave the spinal canal through small canals.

Normal person

Normal person

Person suffering from cervical spine stenosis

Person suffering from cervical spine stenosis

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