What is myelopathy?

Myelopathy is the medical name given to spinal cord compression in the neck or chest region of the spine.

What causes myelopathy?

There are three main causes of myelopathy:

  • A disc moving from its normal position and compressing the spinal cord. When this happens symptoms usually start quickly.
  • Age related changes, for example the formation of osteophytes which are bony spurs that compress the spinal cord.
  • In a smaller number of cases it can be caused by other problems such as tumours, infections or fractures.

What are the symptoms of myelopathy?

In most cases the symptoms of myelopathy affect the arms and legs. They may include:

  • Clumsiness
  • Loss of the ability to perform tasks with the fingers
  • Pins and needles/numbness in both arms or both legs
  • Loss of coordination in the legs
  • Difficulty walking
  • Altered sensations
  • Muscle weakness.

In some cases myelopathy can result in more serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention such as:

  • Loss of feeling/pins and needles between the legs, around the genitals or the back passage.
  • Changes to bladder and bowel function.
  • Sexual problems.
  • Weakness in the legs.


Are you affected by myelopathy?

If you’re affected by myelopathy, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with myelopathy, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with brain injuries from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone affected by myelopathy

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with myelopathy? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including myelopathy, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources related to myelopathy and on many other disability-related issues.

Support groups

Myelopathy Support

A Facebook group that provides an opportunity for those who are affected by the condition to support each other and to share helpful information.


Phone: 0122 374 8405


Spinal Injuries Association Support Network Merseyside

Brain & Spine Foundation Neuro Social

A weekly online support group for anyone affected by a neurological condition to meet others and to give each other support.


Phone: 0808 808 1000


Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a myelopathy support group, or do you already run one?

Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Spinal Injuries Association

The Back Up Trust