Donate to Cervical Myelopathy Research, Patient Care and Education

Cervical myelopathy is a condition that causes the compression of the spinal cord within the neck, resulting in loss of function in the upper and lower extremities. Arms, legs and bowel and bladder function can be affected by cervical myelopathy. The cause of this condition is attributed to spinal changes associated with age. Later in life, bone spurs and arthritis can make the spinal canal smaller, causing tissues to press on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

At Northwestern Medicine, a team of specialists across many disciplines provides patients affected by cervical myelopathy with outstanding care to relieve symptoms and restore normal daily living. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will allow medical professionals to continue to provide the highest quality of care, through the continuation of research and the expansion of leading-edge treatments.

Early on, symptoms of cervical myelopathy are typically subtle. As the condition progresses, everyday tasks, such as handwriting or buttoning a shirt, may become difficult. Additional symptoms may include frequently dropping things, unsteady gait and losing a sense of one’s body consciousness. In severe cases of cervical myelopathy, people experience noticeable weakness and numbness in arms and legs, and the loss of bladder and bowel control.

Notably, Northwestern Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is a leader in providing patients with the most effective treatments for cervical myelopathy. Your donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will help our orthopaedic surgeons to continue to provide patients affected by cervical myelopathy with the most advanced forms of treatment. You will play a role in increasing patients’ mobility and decreasing their pain.

Non-surgical therapies are usually the first step in treatment for patients with cervical myelopathy. These interventions start with less invasive options, such as ergonomic adjustments for better posture, over-the-counter and anti-inflammatory medicines, and ice or heat application to affected areas. If needed, stronger medications, such as prescription anti-inflammatory medicines, muscle relaxants and narcotic painkillers, may be prescribed by a physician.

Other treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy: Focuses on stretching and flexibility
  • Occupational therapy: Therapists teach how to avoid excessive strain on the neck when performing routine tasks
  • Epidural steroid injections: Injections are given in the neck to lessen inflammation on the affected nerve
  • Lifestyle changes: Avoiding activities that cause strain on the neck or spine.
  • Strength-building exercises
  • Surgery: Surgery is considered when other therapies are not providing relief. There are two different common surgical approaches—anterior and posterior. The type of technique used depends on the location of the compression. In areas other than the neck, procedures such as a laminectomy or laminoplasty may be performed.

Cervical myelopathy can bring life to a halt for people suffering from the disease. The inability to control one’s arms and legs, chronic pain and the loss of bowel and/or bladder control can take a powerful toll on the dignity and quality of life of those battling cervical myelopathy.  

Cervical Myelopathy Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Physicians at Northwestern Medicine recognize the difficulties that people with cervical myelopathy face every day, and they are dedicated to restoring patients’ health and quality of life. By donating to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will provide the resources that will enable physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine to advance research and to develop treatments that will put an end to the agony people with cervical myelopathy must endure. Give the gifts of movement and confidence, hope and comfort with your generous donation.

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