New York Spine Institute Spine Services

Spinal Myelopathy

Why Choose New York Spine Institute

Quality Care

At New York Spine Institute, our professional doctors pride themselves on giving high quality care and services to our neck, back and spine patients.

Industry Leaders

Our medical director, Alexandre B. de Moura, M.D., FAAOS leads our team of experienced doctors who have the knowledge and experience to treat your complex spine disorder.

Multiple Languages

Our staff speaks a multitude of languages. Some of which include Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German and Russian. We look forward to serving all of our patients needs.

Understanding the Causes Of Your Spinal Myelopathy

Spinal Myelopathy is a degenerative disease meaning that it can worsen as you age. Although this spinal condition is typically associated with older people, it can present itself in younger individuals as well. For most people, they don’t show any symptoms, however when symptoms do show, it’s typically a pain or stiffness in the neck. Spinal Myelopathy can also be caused by other illnesses even if they don’t cause disc degeneration such as*:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Injury, herniated disc.
  • Hyperextension

Spinal Myelopathy is caused by the wear and tear that occurs in the spine as a person ages. As you age, the discs in your spine shorten and begin to bulge. As a result, the vertebrae move closer together. In response to this, your body starts forming more bones (bone spurs) around your discs to strengthen them. These bone spurs can stiffen the spine and may also narrow the spinal canal through the pinching and compression of the spinal cord.*

Diagnosing Your Spinal Myelopathy

A consultation for spinal myelopathy can be diagnosed with a thorough review of your medical history as well as an MRI through our imaging services. Since the spinal cord carries nerve impulses to various regions in the body, patients with spinal myelopathy can experience a wide variety of symptoms that may include*:

  • Pain and neck stiffness
  • Tingling, numbness and weakness in your arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Difficulty walking and worsening of coordination
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Loss or worsening of motor skills

After a review of your medical history and list of symptoms you may receive imaging tests such as an MRI, CT or an X-Ray. There are several types of Spinal Myelopathy. The specific type depends on where the compression is located on the spine. These include:

  • Cervical Myelopathy affects the neck and is the most common type of myelopathy It’s mainly caused by degeneration in the cervical spine, and can also cause weakness, numbness, and tingling in your arms, hands, and legs.
  • Thoracic Myelopathy affects the mid-spine. It’s most frequently caused by bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, or spinal trauma. Unless the compression is caused by trauma, the signs and symptoms happen over time. These include numbness and weakness in your legs, loss of coordination, and difficulty walking.
  • Lumbar Myelopathy is the least common type of myelopathy. This type affects the lower part of the spine known as the lumbar region.

Treatment Options For Spinal Myelopathy

Depending on the severity of your condition, spinal myelopathy can be treated through various non-surgical treatments. But, if symptoms aren’t relieved, surgery can be an option.* Non surgical treatment options can include:

  • Physical therapy: exercises aimed at strengthening  neck muscles and increase flexibility
  • Medication such as oral (Advil, Ibuprofen), steroid injection, or narcotics for more extreme symptoms

If a non-invasive approach doesn’t relieve symptoms, one of our doctors may suggest your surgical options. Patients with symptoms consistent with spinal myelopathy can be recommended to have surgery if they do not experience relief. Depending on your symptoms, the location of your problem, and other factors, your spinal specialist could recommend one of four possible procedures, you can also visit our surgeries page to learn more about the procedures and preparation.*

The four surgical procedures commonly performed to treat spinal myelopathy are*:

  • Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion: Your doctor will fuse together the spine and remove any problematic bone spurs or discs, in most cases a plate is added to the front of the spine for stability.
  • Anterior Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion: Similar to the diskectomy, your vertebrae is removed rather than a disc in order to stabilize the spine.
  • Laminectomy: The doctor removes the bony arch that forms in the back of the lamnia, providing extra space for the spinal cord to drift backwards.
  • Laminoplasty: Rather than removing the bone, the lamina is thinned out on one side and then cut on the other side to create a hinge much like a door. This method also creates more space for the spinal cord, relieving pressure.

*The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment will vary by patient and condition. New York Spine Institute does not guarantee certain results.

Doctor examining the back of young man

Need a Consultation for Your Spinal Myelopathy?

The New York Spine Institute has offices throughout greater New York City, Long Island, White Plains and Newburgh, NY. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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