DAVE WATTS, MD
Myelopathy is a medical condition in which disease impacts the spinal canal. There are several diseases which impact the spinal canal including carcinomatous myelopathy, compressive myelopathy, and radiation myelopathy.
Causes of Myelopathy
There are several causes of Myelopathy including
The fracture or dislocation of the vertebra.
Osteoarthritis of the spine.
Inadequate flow of blood through vessels of the spinal cord.
One of the most common Myelopathy disorders is the cervical spondylotic. Aging is a prime reason for cervical spondylotic as it usually occurs in individuals over 55 years of age. Activities like lifting heavy loads or sports increases the risks of having cervical spondylotic myelopathy. The spinal canal is narrowed because of the aging process, leading to compression of the spinal cord.
Symptoms of cervical spondylotic myelopathy include the following.
Weakness of the body in general.
A tingling or numbing sensation in the spinal cord.
The loss of balance or coordination. It may also include having difficulty walking or performing routine tasks.
Stiffness or pain in the neck.
How is cervical spondylotic myelopathy diagnosed?
These are some of the common ways of diagnosing cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
These are the treatment options available for Myelopathy.
There are several non-surgical treatments available as well.
Here is a list of the commonly used non-surgical treatments for Myelopathy.
Epidural Steroid Injections
These injections are injected into the epidural space to decrease swelling and pain.
Nonsteriodal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Pain reducing medication including aspirin and ibuprofen may be administered to patients.
The exercises to help patients improve strength and flexibility of their neck muscles.
Sometimes, the orthopedic doctor asks the patient to wear soft collars which help the neck muscles rest and restrict the movement. The reduced neck movement also helps sooth nerve roots.
The first option in any orthopedic problem is conservative treatment. If the patient’s medical condition does not respond to conservative treatment, the only other option left is surgery. The spinal surgery for Myelopathy involves anterior decompression of the spinal cord and nerve roots. The orthopedic surgeon inserts plates or screws to support the cervical spine and encourage bone graft healing.