Non-Surgical Treatment Options for Myelopathy Include Medications, Physical Therapy and Spinal Injections

Before considering a surgical procedure, patients may wish to explore several different non-surgical treatment options for myelopathy. These conservative therapies can help patients minimize pain, discomfort and other symptoms, helping them delay surgery or avoid it altogether, depending on the underlying cause of their condition.

The most common non-surgical treatments

Medications are a common non-surgical choice, with over-the-counter NSAIDs, prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications all available to help patients manage their myelopathy-related pain. Steroid injections, in which medications such as cortisone are inserted directly into the epidural space of the spine, may also be an option on a limited basis.

Other common non-surgical myelopathy treatments include:

  • Physical therapy, which can help strengthen the muscles around the spine
  • Activity modification, which can help patients avoid painful motions and postures
  • Soft collars, which can help limit motion and protect the muscles in the neck (for patients whose myelopathy has developed in the cervical, or upper, portion of their spine)

When surgery becomes necessary

Although these non-surgical methods may be able to help provide temporary symptom relief, they aren’t designed to address the underlying cause of the symptoms. For moderate to several myelopathy, surgery may eventually be necessary. Myelopathy surgeries are intended to alleviate the pressure that’s being placed on the spinal cord while creating more room for the various components of the spine; specific procedures include laminectomies and minimally invasive fusions. If several weeks of non-surgical treatment don’t provide adequate results, patients may wish to meet with an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon to discuss their options for surgical decompression.

At Laser Spine Institute, we can review your most recent MRI along with the list of non-surgical treatment options you’ve already tried for your myelopathy, and help you determine the best steps to take from here.