Myelopathy Specialist

Lance E. Gravely MD, Inc

Neurosurgeon located in Pasadena, CA & Encino, CA

Pain or tingling in your neck, back, leg, or arm may be a warning sign of myelopathy, a treatable condition that’s more likely to occur as you grow older. Myelopathy doesn’t have to affect your quality of life if you seek the right care from Lance E. Gravely, MD, a board-certified specialist. His offices are conveniently located in Pasadena and Encino, California. To find out about treatment options to relieve your symptoms, call or book a consultation online today.

Myelopathy Q & A

What is myelopathy?

Myelopathy is caused by severe compression on your spinal cord. Myelopathy is more common as you age and typically is brought on by spinal trauma, spinal stenosis, aging discs, or various conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. With myelopathy, you may experience pain, tingling, or weakness.

Myelopathy comes in three forms, based on the location of the compression.

Cervical Myelopathy

The most common type of myelopathy, cervical myelopathy occurs in your neck. Myelopathy here usually causes neck pain though not everyone may experience it.

Thoracic Myelopathy

This form of myelopathy is present in the middle part of your spine. Typical causes for thoracic myelopathy include bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs, or spine trauma.

Lumbar Myelopathy

Lumbar myelopathy is rare. Since most people’s spinal cord ends at the top of their lumbar spine, this form of myelopathy only occurs if you have a low-lying spinal cord.

What are the symptoms of myelopathy?

Myelopathy can cause pain in your neck, back, arm, or leg. You may also experience other symptoms, including:

  • Tingling, weakness, or numbness
  • Difficulty buttoning a shirt or holding a pen to write
  • Difficulty walking
  • Problems keeping your balance
  • Less coordination
  • Loss of urinary or bowel control

Your precise symptoms will depend on the location of the myelopathy.

How is myelopathy diagnosed?

Dr. Gravely begins by discussing your medical history and asking you to describe your symptoms. He conducts a thorough physical examination, which includes assessing your strength and reflexes.

Because the symptoms of myelopathy occur in other disorders, Dr. Gravely may order a series of tests to hone in on your diagnosis, such as:

  • An X-ray: to rule out specific causes
  • MRI scan: to scan for areas of spinal narrowing
  • Myelogram: a special CT scan look at your nerves and spinal cord
  • Electrical test: to test your nerve functions

These tests may reveal an underlying condition connected to myelopathy.

How is myelopathy treated?

Dr. Gravely tailors a treatment plan for you based on your diagnosis, but generally begins with more conservative treatment. For example, for mild forms of cervical myelopathy, he may suggest taking medications to manage your symptoms, along with physical therapy or a neck brace.

Depending on your condition, Dr. Gravely may talk with you about surgical options to relieve the compression on your spinal cord and give you relief. If you’re ready to be free of your symptoms, call today or schedule a consultation online with Lance E. Gravely, MD.