Myelopathy is a spinal cord disorder derived from the disruption of the neural signals that typically run from the brain down the spinal cord and through the nerves to locations throughout the body. When these signals are blocked due to injury, compression or inflammation in the cervical spine (neck), it can mean an interruption in the normal function of body parts below the affected level of the spine. This can lead to weakness in the arms, numbness or loss of fine motor skills in the hands, heaviness of the legs or difficulty walking, a loss of balance or urinary urgency.
Although this condition often develops as a result of the natural aging process, there are steps anyone can take to give themselves the best chance of slowing it down and preventing the spinal degeneration and narrowing that often leads to myelopathy. Find below 3 tips to help prevent myelopathy:
- Practicing good posture. It can be tough to keep the spine upright throughout the day, especially while driving or working, but paying attention to and correcting your posture can prevent undue strain on spinal components.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Taking off some extra pounds can relieve some of the pressure placed on your spine and help to maintain the configuration of your spinal components.
- Staying active. Keeping your spine flexible and strong requires regular exercise, including weight-bearing activities and stretching motions.
Focusing on the above mentioned tips in your everyday life might help you prevent different spine conditions. However, if you have been diagnosed with myelopathy, your doctor most likely will recommend conservative treatment options like bracing your neck to immobilize your cervical spine, receiving physical therapy or taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation in the affected areas. If conservative treatments fail to relieve your pain, your doctor might recommend other treatment options.