Spinal Cord Compression
Spinal Cord Compression is a result of excessive pressure on the spine.  The human spine is made up of several nerves that work as messengers to conduct messages from the brain to all the parts of the body. It is enclosed by a bony framework of vertebrae that help maintain the body posture, enable us to stand upright and protect the soft tissues and nerves of the spine. When any part of the spine gets pressurized or compressed this system of body balance and coordination gets disrupted. It may get compressed in any part across the length of the spine beginning from the neck (cervical) to the lower back (lumbar)

Causes Of Spinal Cord Compression

  • Gradual wear and tear on the vertebrae known as osteoarthritis.
  • People above the age of 50 years are most affected
  • Direct injury to the spinal cord
  • Development of tumor in some part of the spine
  • Spinal infection in the bones and tissues
  • Rheumatoid arthritis in the spine
  • Scoliosis- abnormal curve development in the spine

Symptoms Of Spinal Cord Compression

  • Numbness
  • Pain in lower back, limbs and neck
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Stiffness
  • Some patients may complain of a foot drop
  • Sexual abilities of the patient may be affected
  • Loss of coordination in the hands and legs
  • Cramps may develop
  • Loss of control over the bladder and bowel movement
  • Walking, bending, standing up can be problematic

Diagnosis Of Spinal Cord Compression

  • A thorough medical check of the patient is conducted and the patient is questioned about the past medical history, symptoms and lifestyle
  • X-ray scan may be required
  • A CT scan or an MRI may be done
  • Myelogram- a special X-ray done by injecting a dye in the affected part
  • Electromyography
  • Muscle strength and activity is checked

Treatment For Spinal Cord Compression

The method of treatment adopted depends upon the causes and symptoms of the condition and this problem can be managed by non surgical procedures largely.

  • Prescription of pain killers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Steroids may be injected directly into the affected part for immediate relief
  • The doctor may recommend a physical therapy session to improve the strength and endurance of the back, leg and abdominal muscles
  • Use of a back brace to support the spine in case of faulty alignment
  • Use of a cervical collar
  • Surgical removal of a part of the vertebrae to create more space between them
  • Surgical fusion of the spine for better strength and stability of the spinal column
  • Maintain a good posture
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights
  • Maintain ideal body weight as it reduces the stress on the spine
  • Use of heat and ice packs cane help reduce pain and swelling