Our team wanted to know more about cervical “myelopathy”, which is a medical-way of saying that the spinal cord in the neck region is not functioning properly. There are many reasons why the spinal cord in the neck, which doctors call the “cervical” region, may not be in prime shape. If there are symptoms which occur, a diagnosis may be made of “cervical myelopathy”.
One of the reason may be arthritis of the bones in the cervical spine and with such degenerative changes comes changes in the condition of the cervical disc. Sometimes, that disc could degenerate and cause compression on the spinal cord in that region.
According to one of New York’s top spinal experts and surgeon, Dr. Ezriel Kornel, who can be reached at http://topspinesurgeonnyc.com/ some people may not be aware that the symptoms can be in other areas of the body…not just the neck. Sometimes, the symptom may be recurring headache at the base of the head. There could be pain in an “unrelated” place such as the shoulder or the arm. Doctors call this a “radiating pain”. In more advanced cases, it can even affect your walking and your gait. The reason is that problems in the “higher” areas of the cervical spine could lead to faulty transmission of nerve impulses further down the line. Muscle tone in the legs can be increased and the reflex exam may be abnormal.
A combination of arthritis and herniated cervical discs can both result in the “canal” through which the spinal cord runs getting narrowed….a condition known as Spinal Stenosis. Think of it as a limited amount of space that is now crowded by material that should be there. An MRI of the cervical spine could show this and sometimes other types of neurologic testing can be performed. According to Dr. Kornel, in some cases, a more “conservative plan of action” may help, like Physical Therapy and exercise. But in other cases, a surgical approach may be needed, and it is called a “decompression”.
Because the compression of the cervical spine could be at more that “one” level of the cervical bones [“cervical vertebrae”], the surgical approach and the recovery time may be longer than when the operation is just done for “one disc”.
Unfortunately, for some people, once the damage has been done to the cervical spinal cord, even after the area is decompressed, there may not be 100 percent recovery. This is one of the main reason to have an earlier diagnosis and a skilled professional evaluating your case.
This is a video we are sharing from Youtube strictly for educational purposes. We did NOT make this video but we feel it brings educational value to the topic:
Source: Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=990qeSh1x1s