Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
Cervical Stenosis Causes
Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
Who is a typical Cervical Stenosis patient?
Diagnosing Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
Your doctor will consider your medical history and symptoms and give you a physical examination, during which the doctor will look for limitations of movement in the spine, problems with balance, and signs of pain, as well as any changes in extremity reflexes, muscle weakness, sensory loss, or abnormal reflexes that may suggest spinal cord involvement.
Nonsurgical Treatment of Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
Interventional treatments for cervical stenosis with myelopathy may include:
- Observation. If there are no symptoms or abnormal physical findings, then the patient does not have true "myelopathy," even though there is cervical stenosis and associated cord compression. In this situation, the usual treatment is simply waiting. This is because some patients with stenosis have no clinically significant problem and may not develop any problem in the future. However, if the stenosis (narrowing) is severe, then it may be appropriate to discuss the increased risk of spinal cord injury with sports or trauma.
- Physical therapy and/or exercises do not work for patients with a primary problem of cervical stenosis (cord compression) because these activities do not actually alleviate the underlying problem of spinal cord compression.
- Other Interventional Treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral steroids, or injected steroids (epidural steroid injections and nerve root injections) may alleviate symptoms temporarily but do not alter the course of the disease.
Surgical Treatment of Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy
While interventional treatments are appropriate in patients who have no or minimal clinical manifestations of spinal cord compression, when true symptoms have become established, surgical decompression of the spinal cord is the best treatment. The goal of the surgery is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord by widening the spinal canal. This is done by removing, trimming, or realigning involved parts that are contributing to the pressure.
Some of the surgical procedures used to treat cervical stenosis with myelopathy at Emory are: