Spinal Myelopathy

Internal Injury

With age, people become more likely to develop conditions like spinal myelopathy.

Spinal myelopathy is an internal injury that causes pain in the neck, lower back or limbs due to severe compression. While this condition often results from a separate injury or disease, normal wear and tear can also create symptoms of myelopathy.

As 500,000 people develop spinal cord injuries every year, maintaining proper spine health has become more critical than ever. An accurate spinal myelopathy diagnosis may uncover other conditions causing you pain. You can eliminate your back pain and seek treatment for spinal myelopathy with proper diagnosis and medical care.

Schedule an Appointment Obtain Second Opinion

Doctor demonstrating on a model of the human neck

What Is Spinal Myelopathy?

Spinal myelopathy is a condition resulting from compressed nerves in the spinal cord. The spinal cord has a system of nerves that connect the head to the entire body, so a constricted section can create widespread discomfort. Depending on where and how this condition occurs in each person’s body, spinal myelopathy can make walking, sitting and fine motor function painful.

Schedule an Appointment

Types of Myelopathy

Patients experience spinal myelopathy throughout the spinal cord. The three most common types of myelopathy include:

  • Cervical myelopathy: Cervical myelopathy refers to a compression in the neck area. Most patients with spinal myelopathy experience this type.
  • Thoracic myelopathy: Thoracic myelopathy often occurs after an injury in the middle of the spine. Herniated discs or spinal trauma are common causes of thoracic myelopathy.
  • Lumbar myelopathy: While rare, lumbar myelopathy refers to an injury in the lower back. Patients with lumbar myelopathy may experience difficulty walking or lower back pain.

Causes and Risk Factors for Spinal Myelopathy

Your spine’s strength depends on each element of its construction. Since the spinal cord is a delicate system, even small amounts of compression can affect your back. Spinal myelopathy is typically a symptom of other spinal conditions that injure your nerves.

Along with the gradual degeneration of your spinal discs, various medical conditions can put you at risk for spinal myelopathy:

Age is often the best indicator of what causes spinal conditions since the spine weakens over time.

Acute spinal myelopathy can result from sudden neck or upper back trauma.

Arthritis and other autoimmune disorders can weaken the vertebrae and cause compression.

Cancerous growths in the spine can press on the spinal cord and weaken the body’s ability to reduce pain.

Spinal stenosis occurs when the passageways in the spine narrow and press on the nerves.

A herniated disc can irritate the spinal cord and create painful myelopathy symptoms.

Symptoms of Spinal Myelopathy

Spinal myelopathy encompasses many potential symptoms based on where the compressed nerve is. Most patients with spinal myelopathy describe pain or weakness in their legs, arms, feet, lower back or neck.

Even mild cases may put you at risk of a chronic condition, so listen to your body if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling feeling
  • Pain or weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bowel inconsistencies
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Balance and coordination issues

Schedule an Appointment

Woman pressing her hands against her back in pain

How to Reach a Spinal Myelopathy Diagnosis

Spinal myelopathy often results from underlying conditions that may have gone undiagnosed. It becomes more likely to develop various medical conditions that affect your spine’s health as you age. At the Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC), we use a proprietary technique called Personalized Pain Mapping (PPM) to identify the root cause of your discomfort.

For spinal myelopathy, we require an MRI or CT scan to pinpoint the exact source of your pain. When we personally review your imaging and listen to your story, we can make an informed decision about the next steps. DISC specialists will always choose the most effective and least invasive methods to diagnose and treat your myelopathy.

Obtain Second Opinion

See What Our Patients Are Saying!

Don’t just take our word for it. See what patients of DISC are saying about their experiences with our highly-skilled spine surgeons.

8,228 Reviews

Spinal Myelopathy Treatment

The ideal treatment plan for you will depend on the severity and cause of your spinal myelopathy. If you’re diagnosed with cervical, thoracic or lumbar myelopathy, you will have surgical and non-surgical pain management options. Many non-invasive therapies and strategies can help you relieve discomfort. For patients with severe root causes, surgical solutions may be best.

Non-Surgical Spinal Myelopathy Treatment

The most common forms of non-surgical spinal myelopathy treatment include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Bracing
  • Therapeutic injections

Schedule an Appointment

Surgical Spinal Myelopathy Treatment

The most common surgical treatment of spinal myelopathy includes:

Schedule an Appointment

Surgeons prepping the operating room
Dr Abrams explaining spine x-ray Dr. Abrams laughing

Contact Us for Expert Spinal Myelopathy Treatment in Arizona

At a DISC treatment center, we give you detailed attention and care for any spinal condition. As experts in spinal treatment, we provide the pain relief you need to restore your lifestyle. Trust our team of surgeons and specialists to create personalized plans that allow you to begin the healing process and feel the difference.

Choose DISC and receive treatment from the best doctors for spinal myelopathy in Arizona. Reach out to our team online or call 602-944-2900 for more information!


Our spine health blog features up-to-date spine education and expert spine tips from our spine specialists here at DISC.

6 Exercises to Improve Your Posture
November 13, 2023

6 Exercises to Improve Your Posture

Kinesics is the expression of your body language. It’s the shrug of your shoulders, the quick wink to a friend, the unconscious puzzlement of your eyebrows when you can’t quite place a face. Your body evolves as you take on characteristics that define who you are. Your work and exercise routine will also have an […]

All About C5 and C6 Treatments
November 8, 2023

All About C5 and C6 Treatments

Each vertebra plays a role in supporting the body’s structure and facilitating movement. In this article, we will look at the cervical vertebrae, which comprise the upper portion of the spine. Specifically, the fifth (C5) and sixth (C6) vertebrae, as they hold special significance.  C5, the fifth cervical vertebra, finds its position just below C4 […]

treatment options for annular tears
November 7, 2023

Treatment Options for Annular Tears

An annular tear is a discogenic condition that impacts the spine, causing lower back pain. Natural wear and tear, sports injuries, improper lifting and repetitive motions are the most common causes of annular tears, as the injury results from the fibers that make up the intervertebral disc breaking or separating.  While these tears can occur […]

What Is Foraminal Disc Protrusion?
November 3, 2023

What Is Foraminal Disc Protrusion?

Foraminal disc protrusion, which is one way that contributes to foraminal stenosis, is a spinal condition that occurs when a disc in the spine extends beyond its normal boundaries and presses on the nerve roots within the foraminal canal. This canal is a passageway through which nerve roots exit the spinal cord and travel to […]

Everything You Need To Know About Restless Leg Syndrome
October 18, 2023

Everything You Need To Know About Restless Leg Syndrome

Do you ever have trouble sleeping because your legs and feet feel itchy, tingly or cramped? You may be experiencing restless legs syndrome (RLS), a condition that affects up to 10% of people in the United States. RLS usually happens at night or when a person has to sit still for a long time.  Depending on its […]

tiny cameras are now taking center stage in spinal surgery
September 18, 2023

How Tiny Cameras are Now Taking Center Stage in Spinal Surgery

Dealing with back pain caused by disc degeneration and herniation has long been a challenge. For years, surgeons have been using various techniques to address these issues, with the operating microscope being a crucial tool. However, a game-changing evolution is happening in spinal surgery thanks to a device that’s been around for a while — […]

M6-C Artificial Cervical DISC Two-Level IDE Clinical Study
September 15, 2023

M6™-C Artificial Cervical Disc Two-Level IDE Clinical Study

A Guide to Awake Spine Surgery
September 7, 2023

A Guide to Awake Spine Surgery

Having surgery while awake can sound a little odd, but in the field of spine surgery, it’s been happening for a few decades now. This unique method of surgery offers some exceptional benefits, helping people enjoy less recovery time and supporting surgeons in more accurate, safer procedures. Let’s explore awake spine surgery and how to […]

Myelopathy: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
August 19, 2023

Myelopathy: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Spinal injuries can wreak havoc on your life, impacting your organs, motor functions or senses. They must be handled with prompt medical attention to prevent lasting damage. Speak with your doctor if you notice any peculiar symptoms, such as those caused by myelopathy. Myelopathy is a common spinal cord condition that can limit a person’s […]

March 6, 2023

DISC Surgeons Named 2023 Top Docs

Congratulations to DISC’s surgeons, Christopher Yeung, Justin Field, and Nima Salari, for being chosen as Phoenix Magazine’s TOP DOCTOR in 2023.

January 16, 2023

Join Dr. Nima Salari at Amplify Surgical’s 2nd Annual Endoscopic Spine Symposium

Register today for Amplify Surgical’s 2nd Annual Endoscopic Spine Symposium, featuring dualPortal™ and dualX® System on March 4, 2023. 

December 22, 2022

Dr. Chris Yeung Featured on AZ Physicians

Congratulations to Dr. Yeung for being featured on the front cover of Maricopa County Medical Society’s “Arizona Physician” Winter 2022 magazine!

September 2, 2022

Spine Care for Baseball Players Podcast with Dr. Chris Yeung

Dr. Chris Yeung was interviewed by Arizona Physician Magazine – a publication that provides information for physicians across Arizona.

April 11, 2022

DISC Surgeons take Phoenix – Top Doc Award in 2022

Dr. Salari received the most votes in the Orthopedic Surgery of the Spine category. Dr. Yeung received the award for the 10th consecutive year.

January 7, 2022

Dr. Chris Yeung Panelist at UCI Health Webinar

DISC surgeon Dr. Chris Yeung participates as a panelist in UCI Health Comprehensive Spine Center Webinar Series on January 14th, 2022.

November 22, 2021

DISC surgeons participate in M.O.R.E. Spine Learning Center

DISC surgeons Dr. Salari and Dr. Wang participated as instructors in a recent M.O.R.E. Education Spine Program in Phoenix, Arizona on November 19-20, 2021. The M.O.R.E. Spine Learning Center offers surgeons the opportunity to attend cadaver labs, meet experienced surgeons and discuss the clinical, technical and economic aspects of new spine treatment technologies.

September 22, 2021

Join Dr. Chris Yeung at an Endoscopic Workshop at NASS

Begin or advance your Endoscopic skills at NASS on September 29th, 2021. Elliquence is dedicated to ensuring the best education for doctors and physicians on the Endoscopic Spine and MIS procedures using didactic and cadaveric hands-on instruction.

Spine Surgeon Spotlight - Dr. Nima Salari
September 14, 2021

Dr. Nima Salari Listed On Becker’s “50 Spine Surgeons To Know”

We are proud to announce that Dr. Nima Salari has been named to Becker’s Spine Review “50 Spine Surgeons To Know.” Written by Carly Behm | August 26th, 2021 Nima Salari, MD. Desert Institute for Spine Care (Phoenix). Dr. Salari was reportedly the first spine surgeon to implant Amplify Surgical’s 12-degree hyperlordotic DualX interbody cage. His specialties include pathologic conditions of the spine and minimally invasive surgery.