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Cervical Myelopathy

Leg / Arm, Neck

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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