Narrow Spinal Canal

Photo Challenge


From spaghetti to the quiet alley behind your house, this week show us something narrow.

I couldn’t get my wife to unscrew my head and take these pictures so I went to Google free images and borrowed some.


This picture shows in good detail a narrow spinal canal and what is taking place in the spinal column. The white Subdural space should be large enough to give the spinal cord ample room. In this case that space is closing shut from the presence of syringomyelia inside of the spinal cord and this one extends into the brain stem. The syringomyelia creates a cavity inside of the spinal cord. It continues to grow and stretch, drain shunts can help lower spinal cord pressure. Pressure causes the spinal cord to swell up causing the spinal canal area to narrow. After so much swelling takes place the spinal cord comes in contact with the bones of the vertebrae. This creates nerve damage, sensory loss, pain and many other symptoms such as respiratory loss and organ failure. Together, the brain and spinal cord are known as the central nervous system (CNS). They do miraculous work together as a team but do not tolerate outside interference very well.

Syringomyelia has been present in my spinal cord for almost fifty years. The full length of my spinal cord is now hollowed out by the cavity that the syringomyelia created. I have had two drain shunts installed. The narrowing of my spinal canal continues and in my case I also have spinal stenosis in the cervical spine. The pictures at the bottom of this post show a normal spinal column and also a spinal column with stenosis.

thCOAVH434In the year 2000. I had surgery on my cervical spine for stenosis.  They removed the front half of a vertebrae, then cleaned out pieces of  bone spurs,  popped the vertebrae back in place and  grafted it with bone bank parts.  Six screws  and a metal plate now keep my head from falling off , my neck gets awfully sore  just about every day. An indicator of a narrow space in the neck again. No more repair jobs for me.

In spite of all the progress that has been made in the medical field, damage to the brain and spinal cord leave many doctors playing a guessing game when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. Very seldom are there two patients under their care who will have the same symptoms, neurogenic pain, paralysis or a long list of other problems from the same spinal cord injuries.


5 thoughts on “Narrow Spinal Canal

  1. Hi Leland!
    Sorry about your pain and inconvenience that you face in your daily life from fifty years. You have given a precise and clear description of Syringomyelia, which may help others to know more about it. You should consider consulting a reputable spine surgeon for a good advice even if you don’t need surgery anymore. He or she will suggest you some good home remedies to keep the pain at bay from preventing you enjoy your daily life. Thanks for sharing your experience!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s