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Cervical Spinal Stenosis Specialist

George Kakoulides, MD -  - Board Certified Neurosurgeon

George Kakoulides, MD

Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in West Islip, Huntington, Smithtown, NY, & Long Island, NY

Cervical spinal stenosis causes more than neck pain; it puts you at risk for nerve damage that affects your arms and legs. George Kakoulides, MD, offers comprehensive medical and surgical care for patients with cervical spinal stenosis, helping to alleviate their pain and restore their quality of life. If you need relief from neck pain, call one of the offices in West Islip, Huntington, and Smithtown, New York, or book an appointment online.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis

What causes cervical spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows. If the problem develops in the vertebrae in your neck, it’s called cervical spinal stenosis.

Your genetics can influence your risk for developing spinal stenosis, especially if you’re born with a naturally narrow spinal canal. In most cases, however, spinal stenosis develops gradually due to normal wear-and-tear that leads to degeneration.

The most common causes of cervical spinal stenosis are degenerative conditions that protrude into the spinal canal, such as:

Herniated or bulging discs

Over time, the discs between vertebrae dry out and degenerate, causing a weak spot or tear in the outer covering. As a result, the disc can bulge out or rupture.

Bone spurs

Bone spurs are caused by excess bone growth that’s triggered by disc degeneration and facet joint arthritis.

Thickened ligaments

As you get older, the ligaments supporting your spine gradually thicken.

Degenerative spondylolisthesis

This condition occurs when disc degeneration or a fracture allows a cervical vertebra to slide out of its normal position.

What symptoms develop due to cervical spinal stenosis?

As the spinal nerves become compressed and inflamed, you experience symptoms such as:

  • Neck pain
  • Restricted neck movement
  • Pain that radiates down your arm
  • Numbness and tingling in your hand
  • Weak grip
  • Leg weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Falling or tripping
  • Balance problems

Some patients with cervical spinal stenosis also develop weakness in their hip flexor muscle, which affects the way they walk.

How is cervical spinal stenosis treated?

Dr. Kakoulides evaluates your symptoms, performs a thorough physical and neurological exam, and orders diagnostic imaging such as an MRI or CT scan. He treats mild cases of spinal stenosis with anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and close observation. 

In some cases, he may recommend effective alternative therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic.

Surgical intervention is considered when your symptoms get progressively worse, you have weakness in your arms and/or legs, or when you have severe pain or numbness.

When you need surgical treatment, Dr. Kakoulides performs spinal decompression to relieve the pressure from the nerves. During your spinal decompression, he also repairs underlying problems such as bone spurs and damaged discs.

Most patients are good candidates for minimally invasive spinal decompression surgery, which reduces your risks and promotes a faster recovery compared with open surgery.

If you suffer from neck pain or neurological symptoms in your arms or legs, call George Kakoulides, MD, or schedule an appointment online.