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Myelopathy is often first detected as difficulty walking because of weakness or problems with balance and coordination.


Myelopathy is the loss of spinal cord function caused by degenerative changes or trauma. It occurs more commonly in the elderly. Myelopathy may be caused by bone spurs or disc herniations in the cervical or thoracic spine that squeeze the spinal cord. This compression can cause irreversible injury to the spinal cord with serious disability to the patient.

Treatments for Myelopathy

If pain is present, the source of pain should be identified. Surgery is usually offered as an early option for people with myelopathy who have evidence of muscle weakness that is being caused by nerve root or spinal cord compression. This is because muscle weakness is an indicator that the spinal cord and nerves are being injured. Relieving the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord may give the best chance for recovery. Surgery is not for everyone. Mild myelopathy or pain related to myelopathy may be treated early with physical therapy and/or medication. However, these will not usually address the structural problem creating the myelopathy.

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