Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment Of Myelopathy


Myelopathy is the term used to refer to an injury to the spinal cord that is caused by severe compression caused by disc degeneration, autoimmune disorder, spinal stenosis, or other trauma. Compression to the spinal cord can result in dysfunction of nerves along the spinal cord leading to balance loss, numbness, and pain in the area around the point of compression. 


There are different types of myelopathies like: 

  • Cervical myelopathy occurring in the neck region. 
  • Thoracic myelopathy occurring at the mid area of the spine. 
  • Lumbar myelopathy occurring at the lower region of the spine. 


When left untreated, myelopathy can result in permanent injury to the spine and nerve damage. This article aims at explaining the symptoms, causes, and as well as treatment options available for the treatment of this medical condition. Read on to know more.



As per the expert medical professionals in low income clinics, compression or injury to the spinal cord can result in loss of sensation, function, pain, and discomfort. The symptoms of the condition can differ depending on the area where it occurs in the spinal cord. 


Some of the most common symptoms of myelopathy are: 

  • Pain in the leg, arm, lower back, or neck
  • Tingling sensation, weakness, or numbness
  • Difficulty in walking 
  • Increased reflexes
  • Loss of bladder control or bowel function 



Myelopathy can occur as the result of nerve roots and spinal compression due to inflammation, bone spurs, age-related degeneration of the spinal cord, and arthritis. It can also happen due to a spinal deformity at birth.


Some of the causes of myelopathy are:

  • Degenerative spinal conditions 
  • Autoimmune disorders like RA
  • Central disc herniations
  • Abnormalities like cysts, hematomas, tumors, and hernias 
  • Spinal infection or injury
  • Radiation therapy
  • Neurological disorders 



Treatment of myelopathy depends on the cause of the condition and underlying conditions. Your treatment team at a low income medical clinic or any other affordable clinic will make an individualized treatment plan to slow down the progression of the condition and relieve symptoms. The treatment plan can include non-surgical treatment methods, surgery, or their combination.


The non-surgical treatment procedures can include:

  • Exercise and physical therapy
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Bracing
  • Spinal injections
  • Modification of movement and activity
  • Epidural injections 


Your healthcare team at affordable health clinics will determine if surgery is necessary to remove any abnormalities and relieve pressure on the spinal cord, thereby controlling the symptoms of myelopathy.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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