Cervical myelopathy may be caused by:
- A slipped disc
- Worn cervical discs
- Tumors in the spinal cord or pushing on the spinal cord
- Bone spurs
- Dislocation or fracture of the neck
- Traumatic injury to the cervical spine
- Problems with the immune system, such as transverse myelitis, multiple sclerosis(MS), or neuromyelitis optica
Things that may raise the risk of cervical myelopathy are:
- Poor blood supply
- Problems with the immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis, MS, or neuromyelitis optica
- Vascular disease
- A history of bone or back problems
- History of cancer involving the bones
- Being born with a narrow spinal canal
- Jobs or sports that involve regular stretching and straining of spine
A person with cervical myelopathy may have:
- Pain in the shoulder and arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
- Trouble walking or balancing, or have odd movements
- Problems flexing the neck
- Problems with fine motor control, such as buttoning a shirt
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Weakness below the waist or in all four limbs
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on any muscle weakness. A neurological exam may also be done.
Images may be taken of the spine. This can be done with:
- MRI scan
- CT myelogram
Other tests the doctor may want done are:
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Somatosensory evoked potentials
- Visual evoked potential test (VEP)
The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. The cause of the cervical myelopathy will need to be treated. Symptoms may be managed with:
- Physical therapy to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion
- Occupational therapy to help with daily tasks and self-care
- Medicine to ease pain and swelling
Some people may need surgery to ease pressure on the spinal cord. The doctor may advise:
- Discectomy—to remove part of a disc that is putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root
- Laminectomy—to remove a part of a vertebra called the lamina
- Fusion of the vertebrae
|Screws and a plate prevent the vertebrae from putting pressure on the spinal cord.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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