The cervical spine refers to that portion of the spinal column that is within our neck. This portion of the spine needs to be flexible enough to allow us to turn our head from side to side and up and down, but at the same time needs be strong enough to protect the delicate spinal cord and spinal nerves that travel through it.
The cervical spinal column is made up of seven vertebrae and the discs and ligamentous bands between these bones. Each of these seven vertebrae has a channel within it through which the spinal cord travels. As part of the normal aging process, the discs lose some of their water content and start bulging out as we get older. In some patients, however, the bulging of the disc and other arthritic changes between the vertebrae results in narrowing of the space for the spinal cord and its branches, known as nerve roots. ‘Stenosis’ means narrowing and cervical stenosis refers to narrowing of the space for the spinal cord or nerve branches in the cervical spine.
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