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Manhattan Orthopedics

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Midtown Manhattan, New York, Astoria, & Brooklyn, NY

Spinal cord compression is a common cause of myelopathy. For many patients this is painful and unpredictable. For many patients this can cause serious neurological problems without a clear connection to neck pain or back pain. Many patients are unsure where to turn next. At Manhattan Orthopedics, with locations in Midtown, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Astoria, New York, caring orthopedic surgeon and spine surgery specialist Vikas V. Varma, MD, offers valuable nonsurgical and surgical management of myelopathy, including the innovative laminoplasty procedure. Discover the solutions available for myelopathy and let Dr. Varma help set you mind at ease, and, per the treatment plan that best suits you. Call your our New York City office or schedule a consultation online today.

Myelopathy Q & A

What is myelopathy?

Myelopathy is a disorder usually associated with damage to the spinal cord due to severe compression.

Your spinal cord is the cluster of nerves housed inside your spine that travels almost the entire length of your spine. When any portion of the spinal cord gets constricted or compressed, the symptoms are known as myelopathy.

Myelopathy can happen in any area of your spine, including the neck (cervical myelopathy),  the middle region of the spine (thoracic myelopathy), and the top section of the lumbar spine (lumbar myelopathy).

Myelopathy sometimes comes with radiculopathy, the pinching of nerve roots as they cross your intervertebral disc or exit your spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of myelopathy?

If your spinal cord is injured or compressed, it can cause a loss of function and sensation. It can also cause discomfort or pain in the area of or just below the compression point. 

You might experience:

  • Development of abnormal reflexes
  • Trouble walking
  • Loss of bowel or urinary control
  • Increased reflexes in extremities
  • Issues with coordination and balance
  • Arm, leg, neck, or lower back pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness

You might also have difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning a shirt or writing.

What causes myelopathy?

A number of factors can put pressure on your spinal cord and nerve roots and play a role in the development of myelopathy, such as:

  • Aging
  • Inflammation
  • Bone spurs
  • Flattening of the spinal discs between the vertebrae
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Central disc herniations
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hernias, cysts, spinal tumors, and hematomas
  • Spinal injury, trauma, or infection

Myelopathy usually develops slowly due to the gradual degeneration of the spine. In some cases, myelopathy is the result of a spine deformity present at birth.

How is myelopathy treated?

How Dr. Varma treats your myelopathy depends on the severity of your condition. He can suggest both nonsurgical and surgical options, such as:

  • Pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Healthy lifestyle changes, such as nutritional counseling
  • Bracing
  • Surgery, when necessary 

Surgery might be the best option in some cases. Dr. Varma offers advanced surgical procedures, such as laminoplasty and laminectomy.


A laminectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove bone spurs, tumors, or herniated discs.


A laminoplasty is a highly effective procedure done to increase the channel space of your spinal cord. With this motion-sparing procedure, your spinal cord retains flexibility at the site of compression since there’s no fusion.

Dr. Varma will help guide you through your treatment options. Call Manhattan Orthopedics or schedule a consultation online today.

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