Personalized treatments for people with back pain and spine disorders
Published: Sept. 29, 2010
Updated: Nov. 17, 2010
Myelopathy is dysfunction of the spinal cord.
Typical symptoms of myelopathy include weakness, numbness, or tingling in the extremities. Difficulty walking and trouble with fine motor control in the hands may also occur.
Your doctor will perform a clinical examination to determine whether or not you have clinical signs of myelopathy. A number of diagnostic studies are available to help make the diagnosis. These tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans, myelograms, and electromyography (EMG).
When an inflammatory cause is suspected, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) may also be a part of the diagnostic work up.
The treatment for myelopathy depends on the underlying cause. Surgical decompression is often necessary when myelopathy results from degenerative arthritis, trauma, or a herniated disc.
When caused by a tumor, surgical excision or radiation therapy may be warranted. Inflammatory causes of myelopathy are typically treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
The team of experts at the Duke Spine Center will work to determine the cause of myelopathy and the optimal treatment strategy to improve your symptoms and speed your recovery.