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Cervical Myelopathy Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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Cervical Myelopathy Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Dec 13, 2016

What is Cervical Myelopathy?

Cervical myelopathy is a common condition which is caused due to the narrowing of the spinal canal which leads to the cord dysfunction. The most common causes of this are degenerative stenosis and congenital stenosis which are caused by spondylosis. When this condition is caused due to spondylosis, it is referred to as CSM (cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Rheumatoid arthritis is a common condition which affects around one percent of the population and around ninety percent of the patients suffering from it have cervical spine involvement while between eleven percent to fifty-eight percent of these patients have neurological involvement. And, many of the patients also have cervical myelopathy. So, irrespective of the underlying disease process, the compression that is caused is usually progressive and requires surgical intervention for preventing further disability. Usually, patients experience significant improvement in symptoms post surgery so operative intervention can be a choice for almost all the patients.  


This degenerative process is slow and progressive; patients usually suffer from the neck pain and stiffness. You can experience, changes in gait and maintaining balance can be difficult. The patients can also have difficulty in keeping coordination in writing or buttoning a button. When this condition is severe, patients can develop proximal weakness in the legs. You can also face difficulty while rising from the chair.  


Cervical myelopathy is not uncommon and doctors often are aware of its possibility while evaluating patients who have neck problems. It is possible that some patients can also complain of neck pain without any overt neurological abnormalities. The patients who are seen with significant arthritis in the plain x-ray must be considered for further test and studies such as MRI for evaluating the extent to which spinal compromise has been made. The specialists must conduct a thorough study and exact clinical examination before formulating a diagnosis. Laboratory tests and imaging studies must be used for clarifying the diagnosis.  


The Cervical Myelopathy treatment in New York usually depends on the severity of the condition. Patients who have the mild or moderate problem often respond to the conservative treatments. These treatments can consist of oral anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Patients can be given muscle relaxants for severe pain and muscle spasms. Physical therapies or modalities can be used with care for improving patient’s strength. When conservative modalities fail, surgical intervention is considered. The goal of the surgery is to prevent further deterioration of the condition and pain. Generally, a cervical spinal fusion is required in addition to the decompression component; immediate stability can also be imparted with spinal instrumentation and increase fusion. The success rate of Cervical Myelopathy treatment in New York is high however, it is important to undergo careful preoperative evaluation and proper post-operative management for ensuring success and to avoid complications.

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