Your central nervous system is the most important part of you, as it controls everything you think and do. As a result, an injury to your spinal column can cause life-altering consequences. In fact, after sustaining a spinal injury, you may struggle to work, enjoy your hobbies and even form meaningful relationships.
Among the many possible spinal injuries a person might suffer, spinal myelopathy can be quite serious. This condition happens when compression of the spinal cord interrupts nerve signals as they move between the brain and the rest of the body. Here are answers to three frequently asked questions about the condition.
What causes spinal myelopathy?
According to Penn Medicine, spinal myelopathy happens when bones, disks or ligaments impinge on the spinal cord as it passes through the neck or back. The condition can have a few different causes, though. For older adults, normal degradation of the spinal column is often to blame. Still, trauma is a leading cause of spinal myelopathy, so you can develop it after a slip-and-fall accident or motor vehicle crash.
How do doctors diagnose spinal myelopathy?
If you suspect you might have spinal myelopathy, you should visit the emergency room immediately. When you arrive, you can expect doctors to order an MRI. This diagnostic tool gives physicians a complete look at your spinal cord. If something has compressed it, doctors can easily locate the compression and formulate a treatment plan.
What is a person’s prognosis?
Your prognosis is likely to depend on your age and overall health. The location and extent of your injury also might factor into your ability to make a complete recovery. Nevertheless, doctors have many options for treating spinal myelopathy, including surgery and rehabilitation.
Ultimately, though, because early diagnosis and treatment can be critical, you should not wait to seek medical attention for spinal myelopathy.