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- A slipped disk
- Cervical disks that are worn, known as degeneration
- Tumors inside the spinal cord or compressing on the spinal cord
- Bone spurs
- Dislocation or fracture of the neck
- Traumatic injury to the cervical spine
- Autoimmune disease, such as transverse myelitis, multiple sclerosis, or neuromyelitis optica
- Ischemia—restriction of blood supply
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis , multiple sclerosis , neuromyelitis optica; or other conditions, such as vascular disease or degenerative disease
- History of bone or back problems
- Being born with a narrow spinal canal
- Job or sport involving regular stretching and straining of spine
- History of cancer involving the bones
- Pain in the shoulder and arms
- Tingling or numbness in the arms and legs
- Trouble walking or balancing
- Muscle weakness
- Problems flexing the neck
- Problems with fine motor control, such as buttoning a shirt
- Irregular movements
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Weakness below the waist or in all four limbs
- Mental state
- Treating the cause of the myelopathy
- Improving functions that you have lost
- Reducing or managing pain
- Doing strengthening exercises
- Teaching you ways to reduce injuries
- Helping you learn ways to cope with the condition
- Diskectomy —a surgical procedure to remove part of an intervertebral disc that is putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root
- Laminectomy —a surgical procedure to remove a portion of a vertebra, called the lamina
- Fusion of the vertebrae
|Screws and a plate prevent the vertebrae from putting pressure on the spinal cord.|
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- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Other approaches, such as ultrasound therapy, heat therapy, or electrical stimulation
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen
- Rituximab—This is an antibody used to treat some autoimmune disorders.
- Ask about ergonomics in your workplace. Some examples of ergonomics include learning correct lifting techniques, improving your posture, and sitting correctly.
- Avoid contact sports if you have had disk disease with compression of the spinal cord.
- Limit neck movement.
Take these measures to prevent falls:
- Remove throw rugs and other obstacles from the floor.
- Install a night light near the stairs and your bed.
- Install handrails in the tub and shower.
- Rise slowly from a seated or lying position.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Spinal Cord Resource Center—United Spinal Association http://www.spinalcord.org
Canadian Spinal Research Organization http://www.csro.com
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Cervical myelopathy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology%5Fneurosurgery/specialty%5Fareas/spine/conditions/cervical%5Fmyelopathy.html. Accessed November 20, 2014.
Check for safety: a home fall prevention checklist for older adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/pub-res/toolkit/Falls%5FToolKit/DesktopPDF/English/booklet%5FEng%5Fdesktop.pdf. Published 2005. Accessed November 20, 2014.
Matsushima T, Yaoita H, et al. Operated family cases of cervical canal stenosis. International Congress Series. 2004;1259:465-469.
Pollard H, Hansen L, et al. Cervical stenosis in a professional rugby league football player: a case report. Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 2005;13:15.
Spondylolysis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 7, 2014. Accessed November 20, 2014.
Young WB. Clinical diagnosis of myelopathy. Sem Ultrasound, CT, MRI. 1994;15:250-254.
Young WF. Cervical spondylotic myelopathy: a common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in older persons. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Sep 1;62(5):1064-1070. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000901/1064.html. Accessed November 20, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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