Myelopathy is a condition in which the spinal cord becomes compressed, often as a result of the spinal canal becoming narrower. This disorder can occur as a result of the natural process of aging or as a consequence of another ailment such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, or herniated disc. Additionally, autoimmune diseases, tumors, and trauma can lead to myelopathy. If left untreated, this concern could eventually damage the spinal nerves and cause significant debilitation and pain. Myelopathy can occur at any level of the spine, but it most commonly affects the neck (cervical spine). Our board certified orthopaedic surgeons have extensive training in spine and pain management, and they can help you relieve pain and restore function with the latest techniques.
If you have more questions about myelopathy, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled surgeons, please contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey today.
What are the symptoms of myelopathy?
Myelopathy can affect the spine at any level, so your symptoms will vary depending on the location of the compression. If pressure is being applied in the cervical region, you may experience weakness, numbness, tingling, or unsteadiness in your arms and hands. If the compression affects the middle or lower spine, walking may be more difficult and you may notice numbness or weakness in your legs. Other symptoms can include muscle spasms and unexpected reflexes. In rare cases, bladder and bowel control may decline.
How do you diagnose myelopathy?
As with any spinal concern, diagnosis begins with a physical examination and a review of your medical history. Our experienced spinal surgeons will discuss your symptoms and ask how long you’ve noticed them and if they’ve worsened over time. We may also check for changes in your range of motion or for signs of fractures, tumors, or other conditions. X-rays, an MRI, and other imaging and lab tests may be requested to look more closely at the spinal cord, discs, and vertebrae (spinal bones). In some cases, a myelogram will be ordered. A myelogram involves injecting a special dye into the area of concern to highlight the spinal cord and nerve roots. A CT scan is then completed, which can provide our physicians with a better view of the affected tissues.
Myelopathy can make many activities uncomfortable, difficult, or even impossible. At the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, we offer a number of advanced myelopathy treatment options. In most cases, this condition will require a surgical approach. We utilize state-of-the-art, minimally invasive techniques that can reduce downtime and improve your outcome.
For more information about myelopathy and other spinal disorders, please contact our office today. Our friendly and knowledgeable medical team will answer your questions and help you schedule a consultation as soon as possible.