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:
- 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.