Cervical myelopathy (condition of the spinal cord) is a condition that affects the spinal cord in the neck (cervical spine). The will talk about the compressive entity of cervical myelopathy in this piece. As spinal cord becomes compressed, this can lead to spinal cord damage. We call this compression around the spinal cord spinal stenosis. This is a serious condition that should be evaluated by a neurological surgeon. Generally speaking, cervical stenosis causing myelopathy is due to the following conditions:
- Intervertebral disc herniation
- Spinal stenosis from degeneration of vertebrae
Symptoms of cervical myelopathy
The symptoms of cervical myelopathy are probably what most would image compression around the spinal cord to be. It includes numbness in the hands, trunk, legs and limbs, stiffness in the arms and legs, loss of balance, neck pain, headache and weakness in the limbs. Symptoms may seem to come and go without warning and can progress rapidly. This is a serious condition that can lead to paralysis and must be assessed immediately. Neck and back pain may not be present and as such cannot be relied on to make a diagnosis in the clinical sense. A chiropractor or physiotherapist with experience in spinal conditions will know this.
Treatment of cervical myelopathy
The treatment of compressive cervical myelopathy is directly related to its cause. That is, how to best take the compression off the spinal cord. The goal of surgery is to remove the pressure from the spinal cord. This decompressive surgery (remove compression) will usually just limit any more damage but will not fix the damage that has already occurred. At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) we are expert chiropractors and physiotherapists who have a key clinical interest in the spine. If we suspect that cervical myelopathy may be involved in your clinical presentation we will give prompt referral is given to a medical specialist.