Cervical Myelopathy is a degeneration of the spine that occurs to people usually over the age of 50.
Whereas the term myelopathy refers to any kind of problem of the spine, the term cervical refers to the neck area.
Cervical myelopathy or Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a term used to describe the narrowing of the spinal canal which compresses or squeezes the spinal cord, resulting in symptoms such as:
- neck stiffness,
- neck, shoulder or arm pain, or problems in flexing the neck
- stiffness in the legs,
- changes in motor control and movements, even spastic movements which may result in difficulty in using the hands and even in walking steadily
- muscle weakness,
- numbness or tingling in the limbs,
- changes in bowel and bladder control [Bladder infection]
- in severe cases one could experience weakness in the arms and legs or in the area below the waist
With age, there are some inevitable changes that take place in the physical bone structure of the body which causes a degeneration or change in the spine wherein the structure of the bones, ligaments and disks become altered to put pressure on the spinal cord. These changes could be due to age or due to spinal arthritis.
As cervical myelopathy is a disorder that tends to occur with normal aging, there is little that one can proactively to do prevent its onset; however, it can be beneficial to take good care of the spine for good health as well as to try and prevent cervical myelopathy from occurring.
- It is important to follow guidelines and take certain precautions to prevent falls and other accidents. Removing rugs from around the house, installing hand rails in the bathroom, properly lighting up the house to avoid tripping or falling over can all help in minimizing one’s chances of falling over and getting hurt.
- It is also important to try and prevent injury while driving. Contact sport which can result in injury must also to be avoided in order to lower chances of contracting cervical myelopathy.
- One ought to pay attention to ergonomics in everyday life in terms of working and sitting posture, the furniture that one uses, etc. The correct way of lifting, standing, sitting, lying down, getting up and turning can also help in reducing risk of cervical myelopathy.