Why Cervical Myelopathy is Best Treated with Surgery

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 6, 2014

cervical spineThe decision to undergo surgery is difficult for many people. But with cervical myelopathy, minimally invasive surgery is almost always the best option to get you back to your fully functioning self. Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for cervical myelopathy.

Cervical Myelopathy

Myelopathy is defined as pathology of the spine. With Cervical Myelopathy, it is referring specifically to damage to the spinal cord in the neck.

Causes & Symptoms of Myelopathy

There are numerous causes of cervical myelopathy. A few of the most common causes include the following:

  • A slipped or herniated disc in the neck
  • Disc degeneration (wear and tear)
  • Bone Spurs
  • Neck injuries (whiplash, dislocation, or neck fracture)

The symptoms of cervical myelopathy can be minor or severe, and treatment depends on the specific symptoms you are experiencing. Here are a few of the more common symptoms that may indicate myelopathy:

  • Pain in the neck, arms, and shoulders
  • Numbess or weakness in the neck, shoulders, and arms
  • Decreased range-of-motion in the neck
  • Headaches or lightheadedness
  • Loss of bladder control 

Treatment Options 

Your doctor will make a diagnosis as to whether or not you have myelopathy based on a physical exam, medical history, and imaging tests (such as an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan). Treatment is divided into surgical and non-surgical approaches. Non-surgical treatments include physical therapy, massage, bracing, and NSAIDs. When these conservative treatments fail, surgery is generally the next step. Laminectomies and cervical fusions are both popular procedures to fix this condition.

Why Surgery Makes Sense

Many people are afraid of surgery and avoid it at all costs. But in the case of myelopathy, it is often the option that makes the most sense. Non-surgical treatments generally only work in the short-term, while surgery attacks the core of the problem and provides long-lasting pain relief.

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