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Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy — a dysfunction of the spinal cord — occurs mostly in older adults, and causes patients to have difficulty with balance and overall coordination due to trauma or degenerative changes in the cervical spine squeezing on the spinal cord.

WakeMed’s comprehensive approach allows us to return patients to their prior level of function and regain an active, pain-free lifestyle. Our expertise allows us to pinpoint and treat the source of cervical myelopathy and offer the most innovative nonsurgical and surgical treatments.

ortho spine Myelopathy

Symptoms of Cervical Myelopathy

Symptoms include weakness, numbness and tingling in extremities.

Patients can also have difficulty walking and problems with fine motor control in their hands.

Causes of Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical myelopathy can be caused by:

  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Trauma
  • Herniated discs
  • Tumors
  • Inflammation 

Diagnosing Cervical Myelopathy

Our doctors take a detailed history of symptoms and conduct a thorough physical examination to check for typical myelopathy symptoms.

We may also order imaging tests, including computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), myelogram or electromyography (EMG).

A lumbar puncture — also known as a spinal tap — may be done if we suspect inflammation.

Treating Cervical Myelopathy

Treating cervical myelopathy depends on its cause, and we tailor treatment to each patient.

In inflammation-induced cases, anti-inflammatory medications generally can successfully treat it.

When myelopathy is caused by degenerative arthritis, trauma or herniated discs, it will likely require surgical intervention.

Tumor-related myelopathy needs surgical excision or radiation therapy.

Make an Appointment

We welcome new patients. If you’d like to meet with one of WakeMed’s orthopaedists about cervical myelopathy, please make an appointment by calling us at 919-232-5020.