Of the areas of the spinal cord, the cervical area between your skull and shoulders, is perhaps the most important yet easily damaged. One condition, cervical myelopathy, occurs when the spinal cord tissue in this area becomes damaged.
There are many reasons why cervical myelopathy can develop. Severe spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal cord channel and herniated discs can be the result of injury and cause cervical myelopathy. However, one of the most common causes of cervical myelopathy is degenerative changes in the spinal column that cause the spinal cord to become pinched or compressed.
Along with having many causes, cervical myelopathy also exhibits several symptoms that, if not caught early enough, may lead to permanent damage to the spine. Some of these symptoms include numbness or weakness in the extremities, leg stiffness, neck pain, and even loss of balance or vertigo.
Prompt and early diagnosis of cervical myelopathy is critical to helping to prevent permanent spinal damage. Since cervical myelopathy is a progressive condition, left untreated, it can even progress to paralysis.
Several treatment options will help to prevent the progression of cervical myelopathy. The primary aim of all treatments is to decompress the spinal cord and allow more freedom of movement. One example is if the cervical myelopathy, is caused by a herniated disc or tumor that compresses the spinal cord, those are removed to reduce any external forces on the cord.
Unfortunately, decompression of the spinal cord does not always improve lost motor functions. However, decompression is critical in stopping the progression of cervical myelopathy.
If you are suffering from chronic neck pain or any other symptom that might be caused by cervical myelopathy, seek neurosurgical evaluation as soon as you can. Call Princeton Neurological Surgery in the Trenton, NJ area at 609-568-0919, or visit www.princetonneurologicallsurgery.com for a consultation today. Dr. John Lipani and his expert team will work with you and develop a treatment plan to help you live a pain-free life.