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Myelopathy Treatment Orange County

Respected Spine Surgeons & Pain Specialists Ready to Help You

If you have myelopathy, you know firsthand that back and neck pain can be quite debilitating and prevent you from participating in activities you once enjoyed. A compressed nerve causes myelopathy, and it can occur anywhere in the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a nerve “highway” running from the skull to the tailbone, and the compression of the spinal cord results in pain, numbness, or even the loss of control of other body parts.

Do I Have Myelopathy?

Most people who are afflicted with myelopathy are adults older than age 55 because it’s often related to the wear and tear your body endures over the years.

Common symptoms of myelopathy include:

  • Neck, arm, leg, or lower back pain
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling
  • Tightness in the legs’ muscle tone
  • Difficulty walking or placing one foot in front of the other
  • Decreased fine motor skills, balance and coordination (difficulty handwriting)
  • Abnormal or increased reflexes in extremities
  • Incontinence

Types of Myelopathy

Myelopathy has different classifications depending on where in the spine the compression occurs, and symptoms vary by compression location.

Myelopathy types include:

  • Cervical myelopathy: This is the most common form of myelopathy, and occurs when the upper part of the spine, the cervical spine, is compressed. Neck pain is one of the foremost symptoms, but patients may also experience weakness, numbness, and tingling in the patient’s hands, arms and legs.
  • Thoracic myelopathy: This affects the mid-spine area, and the cause of myelopathy is often due to bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, or acute spinal trauma. Signs usually come on gradually, and symptoms may include numb/weak legs, loss of coordination, and difficulty walking.
  • Lumbar myelopathy: This affects the lower part of the spine (lumbar spine), and it the least common type of myelopathy.

Diagnosing Myelopathy

Your spine surgeon will conduct a physical examination of your neck and spine. Your doctor will look for symptoms such as difficulty balancing, hyper-reflexia or dexterity which may indicate myelopathy. Further diagnostic imaging will be used to confirm your diagnosis, including MRI scan, CT scan, X-rays, and possibly nerve testing (EMG).

Treatment for Myelopathy

Depending on the location of your myelopathy, how far it has progressed, and the specific cause, treatment varies. However, some of the possible treatments include wearing a neck base to support the neck and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Your spine surgeon may recommend the following strategies to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Nonsurgical Myelopathy Treatments Include:

  • Bracing
  • Epidural injections in the affected area
  • Physical Therapy exercises to help relieve spinal cord pressure
  • Interventional techniques such as nerve blocks (spinal injections)
  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) drugs and oral corticosteroids

It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible when you experience myelopathy because, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent spinal cord injury and nerve damage.

Surgical Myelopathy Treatments

Surgical intervention for myelopathy may be necessary to remove any abnormalities and to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. This can include removing spinal tumors, bone spurs, or repairing herniated discs. It is usually the last resort, when other treatments cannot address the actual cause. Surgical treatment may provide permanent relief for patients.

Surgical treatment includes:

No matter the type of myelopathy you have, it can be a frustrating condition, but by working with our team of renowned spine surgeons, they will help you find the right treatment to relieve your back pain and improve your quality of life.

To learn more about how we can help you with myelopathy treatment at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, please call us today at (855) 999-4641.

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