Myelopathy prevention methods
Myelopathy is the disruption of the neural signals that typically run from the brain down the spinal cord and through the nerves to locations throughout the body. When these signals are blocked due to injury, compression or inflammation in the cervical (upper) spine, it can mean an interruption in the normal function of body parts below the affected level of the spine. This can lead to weakness in the arms, numbness or loss of fine motor skills in the hands, heaviness of the legs or difficulty walking, a loss of balance or urinary urgency. While this condition often develops as a result of the natural aging process, there are steps anyone can take to promote overall spine health and take pressure off the spinal column.
Preventing myelopathy by keeping your spine healthy
The spine is made out of a complex arrangement of vertebrae, joints, and discs that work together to hold up the body and allow it to bend, twist and flex while still protecting the spinal cord. This puts a tremendous amount of stress on the individual parts, which become less able to withstand this pressure due to deterioration over time. No one can stop the aging process, but there are steps anyone can take to give themselves the best chance of slowing it down and preventing the spinal degeneration and narrowing that often leads to myelopathy. These steps include:
- Practicing good posture. It can be tough to keep the spine upright throughout the day, especially while driving or working, but paying attention to and correcting your posture can prevent undue strain on spinal components.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Taking off some extra pounds can relieve some of the pressure placed on your spine and help to maintain the configuration of your spinal components.
- Staying active. Keeping your spine flexible and strong requires regular exercise, including weight-bearing activities and stretching motions.
Treatments for myelopathy
If you have been diagnosed with myelopathy, you should first pursue conservative treatment options like bracing your neck to immobilize your cervical spine, receiving physical therapy or taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation in the affected areas. If you and your doctor have decided conservative treatments have not been able to help you manage your myelopathy symptoms, surgery may become an option. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^
Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more and for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.