Your cervical spine protects your spinal cord running to and from your brain, while supporting your head and allowing flexible movements. An injury or damage to these bones that interferes with your nerves turns your life upside down. When you can’t walk, work or even sit comfortably, you can’t enjoy life. If you have persistent neck pain, visit a spinal specialist at once. Branko Skovrlj, MD is an experienced neurosurgeon at NU-Spine, a leading spine treatment facility in Edison, NJ. Dr. Skovrlj has successfully treated many people with spinal disorders like cervical myelopathy. Don’t ignore that nagging neck or back pain. Call NU-Spine today for a comprehensive diagnosis and effective treatment.
What Is Cervical Myelopathy?
One of the most common spinal cord dysfunctions in your neck occurs due to compression. Basically, compression is anything that impedes the spinal cord. It may be a bone, tissue or even a narrowing of the spinal canal itself, a condition called cervical stenosis.
When you have this kind of compression of your nerves in your neck, it’s classified as cervical myelopathy. Thoracic myelopathy is spinal compression in your middle back, and lumbar myelopathy is the same condition in your lower back. All impact your quality of life, but the cervical disorder causes symptoms that include:
- Debilitating neck, arm, leg or lower back pain
- Loss of dexterity and fine motor skills, such as the inability to pick up a pen
- Imbalance while walking or even standing
- Pain in your neck
- Weakness in your limbs, particularly in your arms and hands
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
You won’t experience all these symptoms, but if you have any of them or nagging back pain, visit the best in class back pain doctor Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine, The Spine Center, in Edison, NJ. He’s a renowned neurosurgeon who specializes in spine treatments. He uses the latest technology and techniques for spinal diagnosis and treatment.
How Serious Is Cervical Myelopathy?
In the center of each vertebra is a continuous hollow longitudinal canal through which the spinal cord and nerve bundles pass. Cervical spine structural changes due to age or trauma lead to spinal compression or cervical myelopathy. To appreciate the impact this spinal disorder can have in your life, consider all the things you can’t do when you’re afflicted:
- Working may be too much, especially if you typically spend a lot of time on your feet.
- You can’t ever get comfortable with a painful neck.
- The pain and weakness radiate into your arms and hands.
- If you don’t treat this spinal dysfunction early, there’s a danger of significant and permanent nerve damage or even death.
While cervical myelopathy is one of the less common spinal disorders, it requires treatment. All its symptoms are serious. Your spinal doctor at NU-Spine first makes sure that cervical myelopathy is your accurate diagnosis before starting treatment. Your treatment is based on your individual diagnosis.
What Causes Cervical Myelopathy?
The gradual wear and tear of your spine with age is the most common cause of myelopathy in the cervical spine. Other causes of this spinal disorder include:
- Degenerative cervical spondylosis.
- A dislocation, fracture or other injury to your neck, such as whiplash
- Traumatic injury to your cervical spinal cord,
- Malalignment or instability of your neck vertebrae
- Spinal tumors and cancers
While a neck injury can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors for this spinal dysfunction that make it more likely that you’ll suffer from it. Conditions that increase your risk of cervical myelopathy include:
- Age over 60
- Congenital disorders
- Cervical spinal stenosis
- Ischemia, when your heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood
- Neurological disorders
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and vascular diseases
- Spinal infections
Is Cervical Myelopathy Treatable?
At his spinal medicine treatment practice in New Jersey, Dr. Skovrlj has the expertise and technology to diagnose what’s causing your spinal dysfunction. All treatments start with a comprehensive diagnosis. You need to go through a physical examination, review of your medical history and diagnostic tests, including an MRI, x-ray or CT myelogram.
Your doctor relies on the diagnosis to determine your treatment. The most effective treatment, especially for severe cases of cervical myelopathy is minimally invasive surgery. But NU-Spine cervical myelopathy treatment options include both non-surgical and surgical treatments, such as:
- Cervical myelopathy non-surgical treatment. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or wearing a soft cervical collar. This treatment applies equally for cervical stenosis with myelopathy.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), oral corticosteroids and epidural steroid injections are non-surgical treatments that relieve your pain, but do little to heal its underlying cause.
- Cervical myelopathy surgery. Your neurosurgeon may recommend surgical procedures if the non-surgical treatment isn’t sufficient. These procedures include:
- Minimally invasive laminoplasty
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
- Cervical disc replacement
- Endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy
- Laminectomy with fusion
Your neurosurgeon uses cutting-edge medical equipment at the facility in Edison, NJ, improving the efficiency of your spinal treatments. He also relies on a multi-disciplinary approach to spinal treatments. If you have persistent neck pain or problems controlling your limbs, contact your spinal specialist at NU-Spine. Whether your condition requires conservative treatment or minimally invasive spinal surgery, they are ready to deliver life-changing spinal treatment.Page Updated on Feb 3, 2022 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey