Radiculopathy and Myelopathy

The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The experienced spine experts of The Maryland Spine Center at Mercy in Baltimore provide non-surgical as well as minimally invasive surgical treatment to alleviate pain and symptoms caused by radiculopathy and myelopathy.

About the Condition

Radiculopathy and myelopathy are conditions in which neurological problems and pain, often in the neck, back or extremities (arms and legs), are caused by the compression or irritation of the spinal cord or spinal nerves.

Radiculopathy can occur when a nerve in the spine is pinched or irritated. Myelopathy can occur when the spinal cord itself is compressed. Both radiculopathy and myelopathy can be very painful, causing numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs.

Radiculopathy is common in the cervical spine (neck), known as "cervical radiculopathy", as well as the lumbar spine (lower back), known as "lumbar radiculopathy". 

Causes of radiculopathy and myelopathy include:

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of Radiculopathy and Myelopathy

Symptoms of radiculopathy and myelopathy depend on the location of the pinched spinal nerve or spinal cord compression.

Symptoms of radiculopathy include pain, numbness or weakness in the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand (cervical radiculopathy) or in the buttock, leg or foot (lumbar radiculopathy).

Symptoms of myelopathy may include weakness and difficulty manipulating small objects (myelopathy caused by cervical spine problems) or weakness and numbness while walking (myelopathy caused by lumbar spine problems).

Diagnosis of Radiculopathy and Myelopathy

In order to diagnose radiculopathy or myelopathy your doctor may use:

  • Physical examination
  • MRI
  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Nerve conduction studies

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Treatment Options

Non-surgical treatment for radiculopathy and myelopathy includes rest, medications, physical therapy and injections for pain management. If these treatment options are not effective your doctor may recommend surgery.

Surgical treatment is aimed at relieving the spinal nerve or cord compression or irritation causing the neurological problems. Your doctor may recommend spine surgery such as: