Myelopathy

Myelopathy is spinal cord dysfunction related to abnormal pressure placed on the spinal cord. Unlike conditions that cause pressure on individual nerve roots, this type of damage can result in loss of nerve function anywhere along the spinal cord below the damaged area. The effects of myelopathy can range from mild to severe, and can worsen over time.

Causes

Anything that reduces the space around your spinal cord can cause myelopathy, even the normal wear and tear of everyday life. It can be caused by an injury to your neck or your back. It can result from diseases such as arthritis, or from a tumor.

Symptoms

Myelopathy has a wide range of symptoms. These depend on where the compression happens along your spinal cord. If it's in your cervical spine, you may have problems such as pain, numbness, weakness or tingling. You may feel symptoms in your neck, shoulders, arms or hands. You may feel them in your legs or feet. Compression in your lower back can cause pain and cramping in your legs. Myelopathy can cause problems with walking and with balance. It can also cause problems with your bladder and bowels.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on your symptoms. You may benefit from medications or injections. You may benefit from physical therapy. If these aren't helpful, you may need surgery to relieve the compression. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that is right for you

Learn more about the Spine Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.