Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy refers to a condition in which the spinal cord in the cervical (neck) region becomes compressed or damaged, leading to a variety of neurological symptoms. This compression often results from degenerative changes in the cervical spine, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or bone spurs. Cervical myelopathy can affect the function of the spinal cord, leading to a range of symptoms that may worsen over time.
Key Features of Cervical Myelopathy:
  • Causes:
    • Herniated Discs: The protrusion of intervertebral disc material into the spinal canal can compress the spinal cord.
    • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal can put pressure on the spinal cord.
    • Osteophytes (Bone Spurs): Abnormal bone growth can occur in response to degenerative changes, leading to compression of the spinal cord.
    • Trauma: Injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, can cause direct damage to the spinal cord.
  • Symptoms:
    • Motor Symptoms: Weakness, clumsiness, or difficulty with fine motor skills, particularly in the hands.
    • Sensory Symptoms: Numbness, tingling, or changes in sensation, often affecting the hands and fingers.
    • Gait Disturbances: Difficulty walking, imbalance, or a tendency to trip and fall.
    • Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction: In severe cases, cervical myelopathy can affect control over bladder and bowel function.
    • Neck Pain: Some individuals may experience neck pain, although this is not always present.
  • Diagnostic Approaches:
    • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Visualizes the cervical spine and helps identify compression of the spinal cord.
    • CT (Computed Tomography) Scan: Useful for assessing bony structures and identifying bone spurs.
    • Neurological Examination: A healthcare provider assesses motor function, reflexes, and sensory perception.
  • Treatment Options:
    • Conservative Management: Non-surgical approaches include physical therapy, pain medications, and lifestyle modifications.
    • Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids into the affected area to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.
    • Surgical Intervention: Surgery may be considered in cases of severe or progressive cervical myelopathy. Procedures may include decompressive laminectomy or spinal fusion.
Cervical myelopathy is a progressive condition, and early diagnosis and intervention are crucial to prevent long-term neurological damage. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, the underlying cause, and the overall health of the individual. Individuals experiencing symptoms suggestive of cervical myelopathy should seek prompt evaluation and guidance from a healthcare professional.


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