Spine Conditions

What is cervical myelopathy?

Cervical myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord in the cervical or neck region, which consists of seven vertebrae cushioned by intervertebral discs, is compressed over an extended period.

As we get older, our spines gradually degenerate and sometimes the ligaments around the spinal cord harden – both of which can contribute to cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy can also be caused by stenosis, disc herniation and spondylosis.

What are symptoms of cervical myelopathy?

Common symptoms of cervical myelopathy range include:

  • poor hand coordination and fine motor skills
  • reduced movement
  • weak arms and hands
  • numb or tingling arms and hands

How is cervical myelopathy treated?

A neurosurgeon can advise physiotherapy or a brace to treat cervical myelopathy.

However, if someone does not respond to these measures, a neurosurgeon may recommend surgery, such as a a spinal fusion, to decompress the spinal cord.


Sources

  1. Fehlings MG, Tetreault LA, Riew KD, Middleton JW, Aarabi B, Arnold PM, et al. A clinical practice guideline for the management of patients with degenerative cervical myelopathy: recommendations for patients with mild, moderate, and severe disease and nonmyelopathic patients with evidence of cord compression. Global spine journal 2017;7(3_suppl):70S-83S.
  2. Donnally III, C. J., Butler, A. J., Rush III, A. J., Bondar, K. J., Wang, M. Y., & Eismont, F. J. (2018). The most influential publications in cervical myelopathy. Journal of Spine Surgery, 4(4), 770.
  3. Nakajima, H., Uchida, K., Taguchi, T., Yamashita, T., Tominaga, T., Tanaka, M., … & Ushida, T. (2019). Multicenter cross-sectional study of the clinical features and types of treatment of spinal cord-related pain syndrome. Journal of Orthopaedic Science, 24(5), 798-804.