What Is a Myelopathy?

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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3. Causes

Acute myelopathy may occur due to an injury or an infection. Sudden trauma to the bones of the spine can cause compression fractures of the vertebrae or bone fragments that put pressure on the spinal cord. An infection can cause swelling of the tissues surrounding the spinal cord, putting pressure on it by narrowing the space the cord has within the spine, which is called the spinal foramen.

Chronic myelopathy may occur due to spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal foramen over time. The most common causes of spinal foraminal stenosis include disk herniation and osteophyte formation. Disks are tough but flexible structures between the vertebrae, and herniation occurs when damage to the hard, outer layer allows the soft inner layer to leak out. Osteophytes are also called bone spurs and occur when the bones rub together because there is not enough cushioning between the vertebrae.


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