What is Cervical Myelopathy?

When your spinal cord in the cervical spine is injured from compression. This is known as cervical myelopathy. It involves symptoms ranging from neck pain to difficulty holding a pen.

We treat cervical myelopathy at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders.

What is cervical myelopathy?

Myelopathy is the term for general injury to the spinal cord caused by severe compression. When this happens in the cervical spine, vertebrae C1-C7, it is cervical myelopathy. In this area of the spine, eight nerve roots branch out that primarily control the function of the shoulders, arms, and hands.

What are the symptoms of cervical myelopathy?

We generally see two types of symptoms at DFW: those that occur in the neck, and those that occur in areas served by the compressed nerves.

The neck symptoms may include:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion

Symptoms away from the neck can include:

  • Weakness in the arms and hands
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and hands
  • Clumsiness and poor coordination of the hands
  • Difficulty handling small objects like coins or pens
  • Balance problems

What causes cervical myelopathy?

The most common cause of this myelopathy is aging and the general deterioration of the spine that accompanies it. As the spine deteriorates, the spinal canal becomes narrower as discs bulge and herniate and as bone spurs develop.

Other causes are ossification of the soft tissue that connects the bones of the spinal column, making them less flexible and eventually turning to bone, ossification. This limits space in the spinal canal and causes compression. Rheumatoid arthritis is another cause, as is whiplash or other trauma, spinal tumors and cancers, and spinal infections.

Treatment

Surgery is often necessary to relieve the compression on the spinal cord and prevent permanent nerve damage. Laminoplasty can be used to widen the spinal canal. Decompression surgery with spinal fusion can be effective. Microdiscectomy may be used, as well.

Do you have neck pain or pain radiating out into your shoulders and hands as described above? Call the team at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685, and let’s check it out.

Posted in: Myelopathy

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