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  • what is myelopathy, exactly?

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    Old 10-01-2006, 09:31 AM   #1
    puparoo
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    what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Can someone help me know what myelopathy is? The last time I went to my neurosurgeon, he didn't mention this, but mentioned it as a dx on my referral for the EMG/NCV and for my most recent ESIs.

    How is this different than compression? What are the symptoms and what does it mean? Thanks everyone, as usual, I appreciate your expertise, information, time and compassion.

    Cheryl aka puparoo

     
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    Old 10-01-2006, 12:12 PM   #2
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    puparoo the way it was explained to me it is a dying of nerves in the spical cord. don't know how accurate this is thought. dr. was in a hurry as usual.

     
    Old 10-01-2006, 12:15 PM   #3
    puparoo
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    ICC, thanks for responding.


    That sounds HORRIBLE.

    Any way to stop these nerves from dying? Uggh. Maybe that is the layman's way of explaining it to patients. How awful.

    Cheryl
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    Old 10-01-2006, 12:22 PM   #4
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    oh how lovely... my neuro said i possibly have this.

     
    Old 10-01-2006, 01:05 PM   #5
    ThoreauFan
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by puparoo
    Can someone help me know what myelopathy is? The last time I went to my neurosurgeon, he didn't mention this, but mentioned it as a dx on my referral for the EMG/NCV and for my most recent ESIs.

    How is this different than compression? What are the symptoms and what does it mean? Thanks everyone, as usual, I appreciate your expertise, information, time and compassion.

    Cheryl aka puparoo
    Compression of the spinal cord can lead to myelopathy.

    In simple terms, it means injury to the spinal cord.

    Symptoms? That's where the "every case is unique" stuff arises.

    The spinal cord consists of many tracts which control anything and everything you can imagine.
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    Last edited by ThoreauFan; 10-01-2006 at 01:05 PM.

     
    Old 10-01-2006, 01:20 PM   #6
    puparoo
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Ah ha. That is what I thought. Much gentler explanation than ICC's. ICC, your doc sounds very 'Straight to the point!!'

    Obviously, it sounds like surgical intervention is probably the only way to stop this from progressing...

    Thanks all!

    Cheryl
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    Old 10-02-2006, 03:16 AM   #7
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    puparoo LOL dr. has to be i am. the last time i saw the spine specialist he said we are holding off on surgery for now but that my neck would have to be watched for life. didn't get into it too much but when i see him next visit we will. my MRI says "possible"" early signs of myleopathy.( hate trying to spell it since i know i spell it wron) i actually think it's called myleomacia unless that's something altogether different and i have that too LOL

     
    Old 10-02-2006, 11:34 PM   #8
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    Lightbulb Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Myelopathy is the term used when when referring to damage of the spinal cord. Neuropathy is used when referring to damage of nerves other than the spinal cord.........My Docs. kept going back and forth. One said I definitely have myelopathy..........the other says there are no signs of myelopathy yet..........When you have cervical spine problems the legs and lower body are always involved when there is myelopathy...........In a neuropathy, like with foraminal exit stenosis the lower body is not ususally not involved.
    Hyper-reflexia( that mean HYPER relexes) in the knees,,,,,,,,,,,,also in the arms might be hyper or absent with myelopathy.
    When you see your Doc and he/she rubs the stick or something over the bottom of your foot, the Doc is checking for a Babinski's sign...........If the toes curl up that indicates spinal cord damage......Romberg's is positive too.,(that is where you stand with eyes closed and holding arms out........see if the arms remain level...........and you try to touch index fingers to nose......eyes open and eyes closed. )
    All these little test the Doctor does during an office exam tell a story and give a pretty good objective diagnosis.

     
    Old 10-04-2006, 12:27 PM   #9
    humantunigfork
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Myelopathy suggests that the spinal cord has been compromised due to injury or disease...IN my case a herniated disk caused severe spinal cord compression and myelopathy was present and manifested itself in several neurological symptoms including the loss of my right tricep, hyperflexia or clonus, L'hermitte's sign (a cervical shock felt throughout the extremities upon the flexing of the head forward), as well as acute numbness in my left hand, left foot, and left chest cavity...In the case of spinal cord injury the damage done to the cord may result in "cord signal change"...that is...the signal pathways are interrupted such that any number of maladies may occur...My surgeon said he loves to see the guy come in with severe arm pain...because he can do the ACDF...relieve the nerve root compression...and he wakes up and hugs him...He hates to see guys like me come in there with no pain but rather with all these neurological issues because he does the ACDF and we wake up and say "so what was that for?" because all the symptoms remain due to the myelopathic condition...Not all that suffer disk herniation suffer myelopathy...only those with significant spinal cord injury...some of it will improve over the course of a year...some of it will be integrated into "the new normal"...all the surgery does it get the disk off of your cord...there is no surgery for the cord itself...maybe if they ever get on board with the stem cell research they might figure it out...but for now we have to heal ourselves as much as we can...HTF

     
    Old 10-04-2006, 02:28 PM   #10
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    That's me for the most part. Early signs of L'Hermitte's and neurolgical issues. Minimal pain - but definitely getting worse...

    But... I guess the new normal is better than the cord becoming even further compressed, correct? Was that the reason you had your surgery, HumanTuningfork?

    (Sorry if that is a dumb question). But it seems like the myelopathy is something that must be treated asap, correct?

    Thanks,

    Puparoo
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    Old 10-04-2006, 05:20 PM   #11
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    so all of my lower body problems may not go away after i have surgery.. how nice.

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 05:15 AM   #12
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    you have gotten probably some of the best possible explanations of just what myelopathy really is.any affectation or condition that affects the spinal cord itself would be myelopathic in nature.i also have whats called myelomalacia which is the granualization of parts of the cord itself.this usually occurs right at a sight of actual injury to the cord which i have thanks to a spinal cord surgery to try and remove a cavernoma from the inside.i also ended up with three damaged spinal tracts(spinocerebellar,spinothalamic(whi ch also contains the pain pathway to the pain receptors to the brain?)and the left lateral cortico tracts).never even knew those existed in our cords til mine were actually damaged.this really IS the biggest thing when you have myelo anything.damage to those very important tracts,which govern like everything??is really the most devistating/risky part of having any affectation,like compression of your cord.

    the longer any part of the cord is allowed to be compressed in any way,also increases the risk of myelomalacia/myelopathy to develop,which could become a permanent thing.the sooner the compression is lifted,the better chance of the cord returning to the normal position with limited or no actual permanent damage to the actual cord,or tracts.

    i have lost alot just due to the tract damage alone.i also developed two very excruciating neuro pain syndromes.one is central pain from the spinothalamic tract damage(this was the tract in which the cavernoma actually sat in the middle of)and the other is RSD,but that itself was caused when they managed to damage my sympathetic nervous system somewhere along the chain.that thalamic tract is also where your pain pathway goes up the cord to the pain receptors in your brain.every single pain signal passes thru this,both big and small.since my pathway is now permanently damaged,i now have what my neuro called "deranged' pain signals and delayed pain responses.some of the worst types of pain signals sent out from like tramatic damage,like when i tore the meniscus inside my RSD knee,actually took two full days to actually hit the recptors in my brain.all of the sudden at two in the morning,i was hit with pain from hell.just out of the blue.it was the delayed pain from that tear.it took that long to "arrive'.honestly,i never knew just how truely screwed up your body could become once your spinal cord was damaged.it has been one totally freaky off the wall ride for the past three years for me.the hardest part tho is really trying to explain all of this to people,heck,even some of my docs cannot even understand all this,or what it actually feels like.its just one of those things you really just have to experience to really understand.but you WILL know it if it actually happens,trust me on that.

    hopefully the myelo wont be a permanent thing or the damage wont show itself to a big degree.it all depends on just where and whats been actually affectedand or damaged in some way.this is really why when someone mentionens they have actual cord compression,i just get the willies.it just really needs much more prompt attention in most cases,just to minimize the actual permanent damage that could happen to them.it really does suck to have to live with,mostly since even just one tract can govern sooo much inside the body.good luck,marcia
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    Old 10-05-2006, 06:09 AM   #13
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    humantuningfork -- I loved your explanation -- thanks!!!!

    Since my myelopathy somewhat probably resulted from my being pain-free and ignoring the fact that I wasn't walking properly, was getting random tremors, etc. for 8 to 9 months before seeking help -- I will become the voice of "if you are having issues, seek help" on this board.

    -Gloria

     
    Old 10-06-2006, 04:12 AM   #14
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    sunshine,if you are just having motor issues,chances are that only your motor functions are being affected and not your sensory,thats good actually,it helps keep that icky pain away.Marcia
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    Old 10-06-2006, 10:52 AM   #15
    humantunigfork
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    Re: what is myelopathy, exactly?

    Puparoo...Cord compression is nothing to mess around with...you need to do whatever is necessary in order to relieve the compression...It is not likely to get better with rest...of course the Dr. in front of my name is for sociology not for medicine...so I can only speak from experience...The fact that your symptoms are becoming more exacerbated suggests you need to do what you can now to prevent further debilitation...the longer you expereince compression the greater the damage done...In my case I had been hit in the head during a "touch" football game and snapped my neck back which snapped again when I hit the ground...That was 2 years ago...for the next year and half I would experience "shocks" whenever I would play basketball but only right at the outset of the game...my GP told me I had a pinched nerve...In April I got hit across the left arm playing basketball and my whole left hand went numb and has been numb ever since...soon thereafter other parts of my body began to go numb and I began to stumble (I still played ball for another two weeks not knowing what the deal was...and by the end of it...I didn't have enough strength to shoot from 15 feet)...I went to a neurologist who told me I might have M.S...she did an MRI...my brain was fine but it was clear I had suffered a broad based herniation...My spine surgeon an OS (the best in this area) took one look at the MRI...and said though he wished he could tell me something different it was a no-brainer...I would have surgery in two weeks...I had severe cord compression...hence the HUMAN TUNING FORK syndrome...Later in a follow up he told me the bad news was I had a severe spinal cord injury...the good news was I was born in the 20th century...because prior to 1950 I would have been "left behind" for lame...He said most likely I would have become paralyzed and died of pneumonia in a years time...So I imagine I had some herniation for about a year and a half...but the incident in April thrust that disk into my spinal cord such that it did most of the damage...I am 3 mos. out now...doing physical therapy...and cleared to play golf, run, shoot, do whatever I can...which I fully intend to do...probably not as well as before...but I feel fortunate that I didn't suffer worse...and hope that I will continue to improve while recognizing that some of this might be permanent...Life is about adaptation if nothing else...HTF

     
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