If you’re suffering from persistent back pain, tingling sensations down your legs, or new coordination problems, you may have thoracic myelopathy, a nerve disease that’s notoriously hard to detect and diagnose. That’s why you have to rely on a trained specialist to get it right and provide you with the most appropriate treatment. In Edison, New Jersey, Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine is a renowned neurosurgeon known for his expertise in diagnosing and treating difficult spinal problems. He listens to your symptoms, runs some tests and performs a physical exam before recommending any treatments. Call the NJ spine practice today for an evaluation before your condition worsens.
What Is Thoracic Myelopathy?
Thoracic myelopathy is a condition in which the middle area of your spine, called the thoracic region, is severely compressed. The injury causes a number of problems, from difficulty breathing to poor posture. It’s hard to know exactly how many people in the U.S. have thoracic myelopathy because so often it goes undetected. It’s estimated that about one in 100,000 people need corrective treatment due to thoracic myelopathy symptoms.
Before your condition worsens, visit an experienced spine doctor at NU-Spine in Edison, New Jersey. Spine surgeon Dr. Skovrlj puts his considerable knowledge and vast expertise to work diagnosing your condition. Then he searches for the root cause of the nerve damage and provides viable solutions. As with most spinal difficulties, it’s always best to catch it earlier rather than later to prevent complications.
What Are the Symptoms of Thoracic Myelopathy?
Thoracic myelopathy is known for creeping up on its victims. Normally, the compression in the spine causes nerve problems. You may first notice that you may have a problem when you begin to experience symptoms that include:
- Back pain
- Tingling in your lower extremities
- Balance problems
As the disease progresses, your pain becomes more constant and more severe. You may also begin to notice other signs, such as:
- Coordination problems
- Unusual posture or gait for you
- A decrease in your fine motor skills
- Weakness in your legs
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
Early detection is important because you’re likely to have a better outcome if you catch the disease in its early stages. Don’t wait to be treated if you experience any of these symptoms. Share your symptoms and concerns openly and honestly with your trusted neurosurgeon at NU-Spine. The symptoms of thoracic myelopathy are similar to those of many different diseases and spinal disorders, so you may need further tests to confirm a diagnosis.
What Causes Thoracic Myelopathy?
There is a long list of reasons that may cause the condition. To narrow the list, your spine doctor runs a gamut of tests after giving you a physical exam and taking your medical history. To find the exact cause of your myelopathy, you may undergo:
- Imaging test to rule out other spinal disorders
- A myelography that shows if you have any spinal cord abnormalities
- An electromyogram to see if the nerves in your spinal cord are working well
- Tests of your motor skills
Once the tests are complete, your neurosurgeon is closer to a firm diagnosis as to the cause of the thoracic myelopathy you’re going through. Causes may include:
- Spinal stenosis of your lower back or neck
- Disc degeneration in your cervical or lumbar spine
- Herniated disc
- Thoracic deformity
- A serious injury to your back
- Autoimmune disorders
- Surgical complications
- Infection in your spine
- A tumor in your spinal column
- Ischemia, also known as restricted blood supply
What Are My Options for Prevention and Treatment?
Prevention of thoracic myelopathy is challenging because it’s can be caused by an injury, an infection or a genetic disease. Basic healthy back care may help prevent its onset, however. Tips for keeping your back and spine healthy include:
- Stretching your spine after exercising or sitting for long periods of time
- Maintaining a good posture all the time
- Eating a healthy diet with all the nutrients you need
- Following an exercise regimen to keep your core muscles strong
- Noticing any changes in your back and relaying them to your spine surgeon
Once you develop thoracic myelopathy, your spine surgeon at NU-Spine recommends one of the many effective treatment options available. Most minimally invasive procedures require very little downtime and have delivered proven results. Your spine specialist recommends the procedure most appropriate for your needs. Options include:
- Minimally invasive laminectomy
- Endoscopic foraminotomy
- Discectomy (ACDF)
- Spinal fusion
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- XLIF eXtreme lateral interbody fusion
- Revision surgery
- Spinal reconstruction surgery
- Lumbar foraminotomy
- Lumbar decompression
The primary goal of thoracic myelopathy treatments is to give your spine a little bit more breathing room so that it’s not squashing your nerves. The goal of your neurosurgeon at NU-Spine is always to enhance your quality of life with effective and long-lasting surgical solutions for these most complicated spine conditions. Don’t wait until you feel worse; contact NU-Spine today for an appointment.This page was published on Oct 2, 2020, modified on Jul 9, 2021 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide a general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect a definitive treatment advice. It is important to consult a best in class neurosurgeon in NJ regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your local spine surgeon or Dr. Branko Skovrlj of spine center New Jersey, to schedule a consultation.