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What is myelopathy?

The term “myelopathy” refers to the loss of spinal cord activity as the result of sudden injury or the natural degeneration of the spine. It is necessary to treat myelopathy proactively to maintain your quality of life and prevent the dangerous deterioration of the spinal cord. If you believe you may be experiencing myelopathy, If you’ve been experiencing symptoms that sound like stenosis, Dr. Nomoto can provide you with top quality care and treatment options to prevent this serious condition from progressing. Book online or call one of his three California offices.

What causes cervical myelopathy?

The spinal cord is most frequently endangered by degenerative changes to the spine, such as spinal stenosis and disc protrusions or herniations. As we age, our spines lose water content and slowly reveal the consequences of years of everyday use and stress. Several age-related spine conditions can result in pressure being placed upon the spinal cord. In addition to the degeneration of the spine, some of the most commonly occurring causes of myelopathy are:

•Bone spurs

•A dislocation fracture

•Benign or cancerous tumors that compress the spinal cord

•A traumatic injury, as a result of a motor vehicle accident or hard fall.

•Autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis

•Genetic predisposition or congenital abnormality

What are the symptoms of myelopathy?

The symptoms of myelopathy vary depending on the location and severity of the spinal cord problem.  If you are concerned about myelopathy, here are some of the following indications of this condition:

•Pain in the shoulders and arms

•Tingling, numbness or “pins-and-needles” sensations in the arms and legs

•Trouble balancing, especially when attempting to walk

•A heavy feeling in the legs and an inability to move quickly

•Muscle weakness

•Difficulty writing

•Problems turning or bending the neck or back


•Problems with hand-eye coordination, as you may notice when attempting to get dressed or perform other daily activities

•Irregular, spasmodic movements

•Bowel or bladder complications

•Fatigue or frailty in the limbs

Generally, the symptoms of myelopathy will increase and intensify over time. Receiving quick and professional medical attention is extremely important to avoid irreparable spinal cord damage.

Can myelopathy be treated?

Dr Nomoto regularly helps patients address spinal cord-related issues  through innovative care and is able to provide healing for his patients facing myelopathy.

If damage to the spinal cord is occurring because the nerves are being compressed, surgery is almost always immediately necessary. However, a minimally invasive surgery is available to bypass some of the negative aspects of traditional open surgeries. Advantages of most minimally invasive procedures include:

•Shortened recovery times that allow patients to recover more quickly

•Less pain post-operatively

•Reduced blood loss and less risk to trauma to muscles and soft tissues

•Fewer potential complications

Because Dr Nomoto is well-versed in both minimally invasive and traditional procedures, he is able to provide an open surgery if your case of myelopathy requires this approach.

Treatment plans for myelopathy may include conservative methods of care alongside surgical intervention. Some of the non-invasive modifications that may be a part of your treatment or recovery plan are:

•Physical therapy to reduce strain upon the spine, strengthen the muscles that support the upper body and progressively restore some of the function lost from spinal cord damage

•Over-the-counter or prescription medication to minimize the pain associated with myelopathy

•Localized injections to deliver pain-relieving agents directly to the affected region

Often times diagnostic tests like a CT scan or X-ray may need to be performed to confirm a diagnosis. After determining the nature and location of your condition, Dr Nomoto will design a treatment plan to meet your unique needs and goals.

Dr Nomoto  treats even the most severe cases, offering a myriad of treatment options including advanced safe minimally invasive surgery. Call or book your consultation online to visit one of his two Southern California offices: the Beverly Hills Spine Surgery and St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.