Myelopathy causes include participation in certain sports

Participation in certain sports, especially high-impact sports, is one of the potential causes of myelopathy. Myelopathy is the term for the symptoms that often result from injury, inflammation or compression of the central spinal cord. Repeated stress sustained during contact sports and repetitive physical activity can accelerate the degeneration of spinal anatomy, eventually leading to conditions that can put pressure on the central spinal cord and cause myelopathy.

Activities that can lead to myelopathy

Not all sports place participants at risk for spinal injuries. Those that are most frequently associated with conditions such as myelopathy are those in which people:

  • Crash into or collide with each other, especially at high speeds, like football and rugby
  • Make forceful contact with the ground or boards, like wrestling or hockey
  • Twist and bend their spines repetitively during each event, like golfing, gymnastics, and ballet

Although people who participate in these sports do have a higher risk of spinal complications such as myelopathy, many other factors also come into play, especially the natural aging process.

Treatments to ease myelopathy symptoms

Patients who do develop myelopathy have a number of treatment options to help them manage their symptoms. Doctors will typically first recommend conservative treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy and spinal injections. Additionally, lifestyle changes may be recommended, including weight management, quitting smoking, improving posture or stopping participation in high-impact sports. However, spine surgery can become an option if you and your doctor agree that conservative treatments have been fully explored without bringing the relief you need for a healthy active lifestyle.

If you’re currently evaluating your surgical options, Laser Spine Institute can help. We perform minimally invasive spine surgery that can treat myelopathy and other related conditions on an outpatient basis, offering our patients a lower complication rate compared to traditional open spine procedures and no lengthy recovery.^

To learn more and to find out if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures, reach out to Laser Spine Institute today for your no-cost MRI review.*