Myelopathy

The Swedish Neuroscience Institute specializes in treating myelopathy, which can occur when a nerve root is compressed.

Depending on which nerve root is compressed, myelopathy can take many forms, including but not limited to weakness, spasticity, altered reflexes and sensory deficits.

Treatment options

Conservative care

At Swedish, our spine specialists and surgeons usually recommend a non-surgical approach to initial treatment for myelopathy if it is mild. Your personalized conservative-care plan could include one or more of the following treatments:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Chiropractic treatment
  • Massage therapy
  • Aquatics

Surgery

If surgery is necessary, your spine specialist will recommend a procedure based on the cause of the myelopathy.  Surgical options may include: 

  • Discectomy: The surgeon removes all or part of a disc to relieve pressure on the nerve root.
  • Laminectomy: The surgeon removes the lamina, a bone at the back of each vertebra, from the affected area of the spine. This helps relieve pressure on your spinal cord or a spinal nerve.
  • Spinal fusion: The surgeon joins two or more vertebrae through spinal instrumentation to take pressure off the nerve roots or spinal cord.

Your surgeon will discuss these options with you and recommend a procedure based on your physical exam, imaging studies and the cause of your myelopathy. Your treatment team will then create a care plan tailored specifically to your spinal condition.

To have a spinal condition assessed by a Swedish spine specialist, schedule a consultation online or call 206-320-BACK (2225).