UW Health neurologists provide comprehensive treatment for myelopathy, a problem of the spinal cord.
What is myelopathy?
Myelopathy is a broad term used to define a functional disturbance and or pathological change in the spinal cord involving the gradual loss of nerve function.
Myelopathy is often first detected as difficulty walking due to generalized weakness or problems with balance and coordination.
Myelopathy can be directly caused by spinal injury resulting in either reduced sensation or paralysis. Degenerative disease may also cause this condition, with varied degrees of loss in sensation and movement.
Myelopathy is commonly caused by cervical stenosis. When people age, there is a gradual compression and narrowing of the spine. This can result in the spine pinching the surrounding nerves. Initial signs of cervical stenosis may be heaviness in the legs, pain in the arms and gradual loss of fine motor skills.
Myelopathy and the Spinal Cord
Spinal cord injury that results in myelopathy can involve either complete or incomplete loss of sensation and movement. The cord does not have to be severed to produce myelopathy. Significant damage to the spine can cause complete paralysis or incomplete paralysis.