What is Myelopathy?
Myelopathy is spinal cord dysfunction due to abnormal pressure placed on the spinal cord. The source of pressure on the spinal cord is usually due to narrowing of the spinal canal. Loss of nerve function may take place in the body below the area of compression. These effects can worsen over time.
What are the causes?
Age and overuse can lead to degeneration of the spine’s discs, bones and joints. These degenerative changes can cause bone spur formation and enlargement of ligaments in the spine. The new bone growth, and ligament enlargement can narrow the spinal canal. The spinal cord can be pinched as it travels through the spinal canal in the neck leading to pain and hand numbness. Other conditions that may apply pressure to the spinal cord include: tumor, blood clots in the epidural space, and infections of the epidural space.
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms for myelopathy are pain and hand numbness. As the condition worsens, patients may develop loss of fine coordination, difficulty walking or maintaining balance, weakness, loss of bladder control and paralysis.
What treatments are available?
Treatment options may include anti-inflammatory medications, and pain medications. Some conditions that cause myelopathy may be treated successfully with surgery.