Cervical myelopathy is a condition that affects the neck (cervical spine) component of the spinal cord. In cervical myelopathy the spinal cord is damaged and this interferes with its ability of the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. If the brain can’t communicate with the rest of the body we start to get sensation changes and muscle weakness or paralysis in the arms and legs. This may mean a loss of the ability to walk, hand control and muscle wastage.
Behind every cause of cervical myelopathy is a structure that has started to pinch or compress the spinal cord in the neck. The central spinal canal is the hole in which the spinal cord travels down the back. In spinal stenosis this hole is reduced and compression of the spinal cord is the result. A herniated disc, degenerated disc, tumor, infection or disease process has the ability to cause spinal stenosis.
Symptoms of cervical myelopathy
The symptoms of cervical myelopathy can develop gradually or abruptly depending on the disease process or mechanism that is underlying this condition. When a practitioner such as the chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine Centre test your reflexes they become exaggerated and this is because the brain has lost its ability to inhibit the spinal reflexes as it is loosing its ability to communicate with them due to compression of the communication lines (spinal cord). Depending on the severity of the compression there will typically be muscle weakness, sensory loss, hyperreflexia, and gait clumsiness.
Treatment of cervical myelopathy
Cervical myelopathy is a medical emergency in most cases and our Balmain and Dee Why chiropractors and physiotherapist at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) will recognise this. Promote referral is given to a specialist medical practitioner such as a neurologist or a neurosurgeon. The aim of the surgeon is to decompress the neck and take the pressure of the spinal cord to limit and long term loss of function. Our Balmain and Dee Why chiropractors and physiotherapists are experts in non-surgical spinal diagnosis and treatment.
Read further about head and jaw conditions:
- Subdural haematoma
- Epidural haematoms
- Temporomandibular disorders
- Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
- About S3C
- Our approach to back pain