In this article, we will examine myelomalacia of the spine, a medical condition where the softening of the spinal cord can result in a decrease in its volume and cause various issues in the body. We will explore the causes of the condition, the associated problems, and the role of upper cervical chiropractors in its management.
Several physical reasons can lead to decreased spinal cord volume, including falls, athletic trauma, or car accidents. However, all of these causes share a common pathology: the reduction of blood supply to the spinal cord. Insufficient blood supply can result in a loss of volume and softening of the spinal cord at the injury site. It’s worth noting that trauma is not the only factor that can result in inadequate blood supply to the spinal cord. It can also occur naturally in older individuals due to aging.
Insufficient blood supply to the spinal cord and resulting softening can cause several problems in the body, such as:
· Difficulty breathing
· Delayed or inhibited reflexes
· Motor function impairment
· Muscle weakness
The severity of the symptoms mentioned above highlights the importance of prompt intervention by upper cervical chiropractors and spine specialists in the case of myelomalacia. They strive to address the problem as soon as possible once it’s detected to prevent further complications.
Myelomalacia is usually diagnosed with an MRI or other imaging devices that can detect the loss of spinal cord volume. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will discuss surgical options with the patient.
The primary objectives of a myelomalacia procedure are to eliminate any blockage or compression hindering normal blood flow and to stabilize the affected area to prevent future recurrences. The specifics of the surgery, such as the discs involved or the type of implants used, are determined individually. Your doctor will provide information about your particular procedure in the days leading up to your operation.
One of the complications of cervical myelomalacia is neurological deficit (i.e., problems with the spinal cord). Gradual cranial migration of the neurological deficits is known as ascending syndrome and is a typical feature of diffuse myelomalacia. Death from myelomalacia may occur due to respiratory paralysis. As such, there is need for a collaborative case management between the upper cervical chiropractor and the neurosurgeon.
Early diagnosis by a primary spine care provider is crucial as it enables the timely identification, treatment, and involvement of a neurosurgeon when necessary. Failure to diagnose and treat myelomalacia promptly can result in severe disability or even life-threatening injury. The injuries are usually caused by the trauma that the spinal cord undergoes if the condition is left untreated.
There is currently an increasing number of upper cervical chiropractors nationwide who are trained and qualified as primary spine care and trauma practitioners. They specialize in early detection and diagnosis and managing patients with myelomalacia and related conditions.
Given the severity and progressive nature of myelomalacia, it is essential for the upper cervical chiropractor, serving as the Primary Spine Care Provider, to recognize the associated signs and symptoms and identify the lesion on MRI. If myelomalacia is detected, referring the patient immediately for a neurosurgical consultation is crucial. This underscores the importance of chiropractors in managing spinal cases and highlights why physical therapists, although licensed to treat the spine, should not be the first providers to manage such cases. This is because diagnosing such cases and other conditions is outside their scope of practice.
Given the severity and progressive nature of myelomalacia, it is essential for the chiropractor, serving as the Primary Spine Care Provider, to recognize the associated signs and symptoms and identify the lesion on MRI. If myelomalacia is detected, referring the patient immediately for a neurosurgical consultation is crucial. This underscores the importance of chiropractors in managing spinal cases and highlights why physical therapists, although licensed to treat the spine, should not be the first providers to manage such cases. This is because diagnosing such cases and other conditions is outside their scope of practice.
Patients with myelomalacia present an excellent opportunity for upper cervical chiropractors, serving as primary spine care providers, to collaborate with neurosurgeons. The identification of myelomalacia necessitates a surgical consultation, and if a chiropractor detects the condition, they can refer the patient to a neurosurgeon and initiate a discussion on further co-management. The chiropractor can inquire if surgery is necessary and if mechanical treatment can be done before or after the surgery. If the patient requires continuous monitoring, the chiropractor can regularly provide education and check-ups under the neurosurgeon’s direction.
For patients with myelomalacia, the chiropractor’s ability to monitor symptoms, prepare patients for surgery, and manage the spine mechanically after surgery can benefit the neurosurgeon. By allowing the chiropractor to manage these aspects of care, the neurosurgeon can focus more on performing surgery and enjoy improved patient satisfaction and outcomes. This collaboration between chiropractors and neurosurgeons can lead to a more comprehensive and effective approach to managing myelomalacia patients.
In summary, if myelomalacia is suspected, it is crucial for a primary spine care provider, such as a chiropractor, to refer the patient for a neurosurgical consultation. The chiropractor can work with the surgeon to create a treatment plan that stabilizes the spine and reduces compressive forces on the spinal cord. If surgery is required, the chiropractor can coordinate with the surgeon to provide conservative care before and after surgery to promote a better long-term outcome. Additionally, having advanced training in areas such as MRI spine interpretation and spinal biomechanical engineering can enhance collaboration between the chiropractor and neurosurgeon. The chiropractor can play an important role in the patient’s care and treatment of myelomalacia.
Dr. Berner does not diagnose, treat, or prevent any medical diseases or conditions; instead, he analyzes and corrects the structure of his patients with Foundational Correction to improve their overall quality of life. He works with their physicians, who regulate their medications. This blog post is not designed to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment, or services to you or any other individual. The information provided in this post or through linkages to other sites is not a substitute for medical or professional care. You should not use the information in place of a visit, consultation, or the advice of your physician or another healthcare provider. Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Brett Berner are not liable or responsible for any advice, the course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services, or product you obtain through this article or others.
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Chang David, MD (2017, Dec 7). Understanding and Treating Myelomalacia of the Spine. Retrieved fromdrdavidchangmd.com/understanding-and-treating-myelomalacia-of-the-spine
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