When a physician suspects that you have myelopathy, a condition caused by a loss of spinal cord activity, you will need to see a spine surgeon with experience. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon, Dr. Kendall Carll, is well respected in the greater DFW area for the care of spinal issues. Myelopathy can stem from a condition you were born with (congenital stenosis), an injury, compression of the spinal cord, or brain trauma. The symptoms of myelopathy are very physiologically widespread and diverse; therefore, the condition is commonly misdiagnosed as other types of neurological disorders. While this condition can be painless at the site of spinal cord compression (usually in the neck), finding the source of the true problem can be difficult. Dr. Carll and his medical staff are equipped to diagnose nerve disorders originating in the spine and will develop treatment solutions that will keep patients active and mobile.
"Dr Carll was a lifesaver for me! I fought the back pain from a pinched/herniated sciatic nerve for 7 months. I tried everything from PT, chiropractic, spinal decompression, antigravity table, ibuprofen and more ibuprofen and steroids. Eventually, the pain was so unbearable that I could not sit through a meal or even drive. I finally gave up avoiding surgery and went to Dr Carll. I had minimally invasive microdisctectomy and the results were excellent. A few months of rehab later and I’ve got my life back. I’m so glad I saw Dr. Carll! He was so caring and explained everything thoroughly, including what to expect after surgery. His staff was just as wonderful and caring. I’d go back to him in a heartbeat. I’m very grateful for his skilled hands. God bless them."- M.J. / Healthgrades / Oct 15, 2019
A common cause of myelopathy is a degenerative spinal condition, like spinal stenosis, which can narrow the bony passageways, subsequently placing pressure where the spinal cord and nerve roots travel. Some of the other common causes of myelopathy are:
- Central disc herniations, which can also result in the compression of the spinal cord
- Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis in the spine
- Hernias, cysts, hematomas, spinal tumors, or bone cancer
- Spinal injury, spinal infection, or neurological disorders
- Trauma from repeated injuries to the neck area or a one-time fall or accident
The spinal cord transmits neurological signals from the brain to the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is injured, the patient will experience symptoms ranging from numbness or a feeling of “pins and needles” in the arms or legs to an inability to coordinate movement of the hands and legs. The condition can also generate a sudden onset of pain in the spine or legs, as well as problems with bowel or bladder control, even difficulty with walking. Patients commonly report the following symptoms:
- Pain in the lower back, upper back, or neck
- Weakness, tingling, and/or numbness
- Sudden loss of fine motor skills
- Abnormal response of the reflexes
- Difficulty walking
- Abrupt lack of coordination
Dr. Carll will exercise extraordinary precaution and rely on comprehensive diagnostics to ensure the proper diagnosis is established with diagnostic imaging and physical examination. Often, myelopathy is the secondary result of another underlying condition. For this reason, Dr. Carll may suggest a diagnosis that includes the terms “with” or “without” myelopathy. This refers to whether your spinal cord has been impacted by the condition. After your diagnostic testing and imaging are complete, Dr. Carll will sit down with you in a private treatment room to discuss your options. Be prepared for him to suggest surgical and nonsurgical interventions.
The nonsurgical interventions for myelopathy include physical therapy, over-the-counter medications to reduce the pain associated with myelopathy, and localized injections that target the affected area of the spine. If nonsurgical remedies are not sufficient at alleviating pain, then more invasive forms of treatment may need to be considered.
A common surgical solution for myelopathy would be minimally invasive surgery to relieve any compression on the spinal cord. With this type of procedure, Dr. Carll might shave bone from the vertebra that could be placing pressure on the spinal cord or remove a disc that bulged and is pressing on the spine. If the vertebra has slipped out of place due to facet defects, it can be repositioned, and screws and brackets can be inserted to fuse the spinal vertebrae in place.
Make Myelopathy Manageable
Board-certified spine surgeon Dr. Carll is passionate about providing his patients with immediate and long-term relief from myelopathy. After performing a thorough exam using the latest diagnostic technologies, he will develop a treatment plan that addresses your condition. If you have numbness or weakness in your arms or legs that you believe may be caused by a spinal defect, call Spine Care of North Texas to schedule your appointment today. Our team is ready to help you take back your life and your mobility.