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Myelopathy

Leg / Arm, Neck, Upper Back

Myelopathy is compression of the spinal cord by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal cord), resulting in pinching of the spinal cord in the cervical or thoracic spinal regions. This can cause weakness, numbness, pain (radiculopathy), coordination issues, bowel or bladder dysfunction and changes in gait. Early signs include changes in handwriting, ability to use buttons, and picking up coins. Myelopathy can occur as a result of injury or merely due to the normal aging process as the spine narrows and causes compression of the nerves. The natural history of Myelopathy is that the majority of patients will have slow steady progression of their symptoms. Any patient with myelopathy should seek the opinion of a spine surgeon or a neurologist. If the symptoms are mild, conservative treatment such as anti-inflammatory medications and activity limitation can be attempted; due to the natural history surgical decompression is the treatment of choice for most patients.

Related Conditions

Thoracic Myelopathy Learn more about possible treatment options for Thoracic Myelopathy.

Thoracic Myelopathy occurs when the thoracic spinal cord in compressed. This occurs mostly because of bulged discs, fractures, or bone spurs.

The thoracic region specifies the middle portion of the spine. Myelopathy describes the clinical findings associated with compression of the spinal cord that results in impairment of nerve function and may cause partial or complete paralysis of the lower extremities (paraplegia). Common symptoms include numbness and weakness in legs accompanied by loss of coordination/gait disturbance.

The natural history for most is of slow steady decline in function. The primary treatment is with surgical decompression often through a laminectomy. In certain circumstance more intricate procedures including removal of an entire vertebrae (Corpectomy) or Disc need to be performed by approaching the spine through the chest (Thoracotomy).

Cervical Myelopathy Learn more about possible treatment options for Cervical Myelopathy.

Myelopathy is compression of the spinal cord by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal cord), resulting in pinching of the spinal cord in the cervical or thoracic spinal regions. This can cause weakness, numbness, pain (radiculopathy), coordination issues, bowel or bladder dysfunction and changes in gait. Early signs include changes in handwriting, ability to use buttons, and picking up coins. Myelopathy can occur as a result of injury or merely due to the normal aging process as the spine narrows and causes compression of the nerves. The natural history of Myelopathy is that the majority of patients will have slow steady progression of their symptoms. Any patient with myelopathy should seek the opinion of a spine surgeon or a neurologist. If the symptoms are mild, conservative treatment such as anti-inflammatory medications and activity limitation can be attempted; due to the natural history surgical decompression is the treatment of choice for most patients.

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