First off, what is myelopathy? Myelopathy is when you gradually lose nerve function due to spinal damage or aging. It’s one of the most common forms of neck injury in the U.S. for people over 55-years-old. In fact, 10% of people who have stenosis develop myelopathy. While myelopathy is painful, it’s not as serious as a spinal cord injury. Most myelopathy cases are considered an “incomplete” injury of the spinal cord and are often caused by car accidents.
What is complete and incomplete myelopathy?
Complete myelopathy is when your spinal injury results in no sensation below the origin of the injury. For example, you cannot feel your legs and could not walk. They might also have loss of bladder control and bowel function. It is called “complete” because nothing below the injury works. With incomplete myelopathy, some functions below the spinal injury will still work or partially work. Using the same example from above, you can feel your leg and control your bladder and bowels, but you can’t walk. In some extreme cases of myelopathy, it can leave you paralyzed.
Common causes and treatment
The most common cause of myelopathy is from aging. It’s just normal wear and tear. This affects our joints and ligaments. Another cause is sudden spinal trauma, such as whiplash, caused from a car accident. These injuries often affect the muscles and ligaments around your spine. When it comes to treatments, the only treatment is surgery. The surgery decompresses the spine. This is done to slow down or stop stenosis (which is the narrowing of the spinal canal) from progressing. However, this is only offered as an early option to relieve the pressure in the nerves. Unfortunately, this surgery may not provide any relief and spine surgery is complicated. You may want to consider pain management instead of surgery. It’s less risky and may help relieve your pain.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I’d like to remind everyone that the first thing you should do after an accident, besides calling the police and reporting the accident, is to go see a doctor. You may not feel Injuries such as myelopathy right away, but it’s important to make sure you are okay. If you catch an injury early, it’s usually easier and quicker to heal. Being in an accident is stressful enough. Please seek medical treatment so you don’t have to be concerned about an injury, too.