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A common spinal cord disorder in people ages 55 and over, cervical spondylotic myelopathy results in pressure on the spine due to changes in the ligaments, discs and bones. Emory Healthcare noted that the common area in the spinal cord affected by cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the C4 to C7 area.
Patients with this disorder experience pain, weakness, numbness and coordination problems. The symptoms of cervical spondylotic myelopathy tend to progress slowly, though 5 to 20 percent of patients have symptoms that progress more rapidly, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Treatment options for cervical spondylotic myelopathy include surgical interventions and nonsurgical interventions. Patients should discuss with their physicians which treatment is right for them and what the possible side effects are.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
If a patient has a mild form of cervical spondylotic myelopathy, then the physician may recommend observation. Some patients may use neck braces and physical therapy. Neck braces work by limiting neck motion, allowing the neck to rest.
This intervention is short-term, as long-term wear may lead to reduced strength of the neck muscles. However, the American Academy of Family Physicians pointed out that it is not clear if these treatments can help with cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
While pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, can help reduce pain, they do not help reduce other symptoms of cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Another pain reliever option is epidural steroid injection, which also reduce swelling, though the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons noted that this treatment is not often used with cervical spondylotic myelopathy.
Other nonsurgical treatment options for cervical spondylotic myelopathy include exercise, which can increase neck strength.
Surgical Treatment for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy helps alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord.