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6 Causes of Myelopathy

6 Causes of Myelopathy

Myelopathy is a degenerative spine injury that compresses nerves in your spinal cord. It can affect any part of your spine, from your neck (cervical spine) to your lower back (lumbar spine).

Many common spinal conditions can lead to myelopathy, and the symptoms can be severe. Fortunately, our spine specialists at Manhattan Orthopedics can help. We provide comprehensive diagnoses to uncover the cause of your condition and personalized myelopathy treatment to help you live better.

Understanding the common causes of myelopathy

Myelopathy develops when severe pressure squeezes your spinal cord. Though some people are born with a spinal abnormality that causes myopathy, most people with myelopathy develop it over time. The six most common causes are:

1. Aging

Unfortunately, age-related spinal degeneration can be enough to cause myelopathy. Your spine wears down with years of use, and the rubbery discs that cushion your vertebrae and protect your spinal cord start to flatten. If degeneration is significant, myelopathy symptoms may develop.

2. Arthritis

Arthritis is the most common joint condition in the country, and it gets even more common with age. If you have arthritis, the joints of your spine can get inflamed and irritated, eventually causing deterioration and myelopathy. Of all the types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is most likely to cause myelopathy, and about 2.5% of people with RA have cervical myelopathy.

3. Bone spurs

A bone spur is abnormal bone growth. Bone spurs are often the result of chronic inflammation, because of arthritis or other degenerative spinal conditions. Bone spurs that grow too close to your spinal cord can put pressure on it and cause myelopathy symptoms.

4. Spinal stenosis

Along with aging and arthritis, spinal stenosis can break down the structures of your spine and lead to myelopathy. Spinal stenosis is another degenerative condition that makes your spinal canal narrower. Over time, this narrowing can put increased pressure on the nerves in your spinal cord.

5. Herniated discs

Herniated discs are some of the most common back injuries. A herniated disc breaks open when it gets injured and presses against your spinal cord. In severe cases, particularly central disc herniation, these injuries can cause myelopathy.

6. Traumatic injury

Finally, an acute injury can cause myelopathy. A traumatic injury to the spine or certain types of infection can damage your spinal discs and spinal cord. Other conditions, like hernia, tumors, and cysts can also cause myelopathy.

Finding relief from myelopathy symptoms

If you’re suffering the symptoms of myelopathy, it’s time to learn more about your treatment options. Myelopathy can cause nerve pain, mobility issues, loss of sensation, and more, but treatment can help relieve your most bothersome symptoms.

Following a comprehensive exam and diagnosis, our team works with you to find a treatment plan. We often recommend a range of nonsurgical options first, which can include medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

In more advanced cases, we may recommend surgery for myelopathy. The goal of surgery is to create more space around your spinal cord to relieve pressure on nerves.

Learn more about your myelopathy treatment options with a consultation at Manhattan Orthopedics. Call our offices in Astoria, Brooklyn, or Manhattan, New York, or request an appointment online now.

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