Conservative treatment of Cervical Myelopathy
There is no one perfect treatment for the mild and moderate cervical myelopathy. The aim is to help reduce pain and maintain joint movement and function as best as possible. Any treatment that can help slow the progression of the cord compression and help with quality of life needs to be considered. Some reports suggest that surgery for patients in this category is not always beneficial, both two and ten years later.
Main aims of treatment:
- Relieve pain
- To reduce spinal cord compression
- To improve function and mobility
- To prevent neurological deterioration
- To reverse or improve neurological deficits
Chiropractic Treatment of Myelopathy
Cervical traction and manipulation has been shown to help reduce the pain, improving the cervical range of movement and decreasing neck muscle spasm in milder forms of myelopathy, which can but only help with improving blood vascularity and reducing compression. It can give some improvement of weakness, headaches, and dizziness. If this can then help in any way to improve symptoms and quality of life and either improve function, or even simply prevent a deterioration of neurological symptoms, then it has value.
Manipulation is not going to help every case of cervical myelopathy, but can be hugely beneficial for those clients which it does help.
It is likely that clients who benefit from manipulation will require on-going maintenance treatments to maintain the cervical function as the aim of the treatment is not to fully cure the condition, but rather to manage the symptoms.
Some clients may not benefit or be suited to manipulation, however, deep muscle releasing and gentle traction to the suboccipital muscles can sometimes be extremely effective at helping movement, vascularisation, and reducing pain in the neck.
Manipulation and exercise have been shown to be beneficial together, along with learning how to avoid strain and pressure on the neck.
Alexander Technique has several advantages in helping treatment of cervical myelopathy. It is very gentle, not placing strain on the cervical joints, and therefore may be more suited for some patients.
Because Alexander Technique focuses on releasing cervical muscular tension, improving and releasing the tension and awareness of the habitual patterns that create further stress and compression, it can help teach patients how to manage and look after their condition as best they can.
Alexander Technique is also aimed at helping maintaining good posture and workstation habits, that can directly lead to increased cervical tension. This is especially relevant as more of us are tending to get locked in one position and spending hours and hours sitting at the computer, or using phones and laptops in bad positions on the bed or sofa.
Chiropractic and conservative treatment both pre- and post-surgery
In surgical cases, there is still a place for more gentle Chiropractic treatments to help improve and restore cervical mobility, and reduce muscular spasm that may either have been long-standing or arisen from the surgery.
Other useful techniques and treatments include:
- Exercises to improve mobility and proprioception.
- Gentle mobilisation to help neck mobility.
- Gentle muscle releasing of the cervical muscles that are tight or in spasm.
- Improving the blood flow to the muscle in the neck, in term helping with blood flow to the deep tissue and promoting healing.
For more information, please visit www.physio-pedia.com/Cervical_Myelopathy.