Spinal Cord Compression: Symptoms, Treatment, and Diagnosis

Spinal cord compression is a serious medical condition that occurs when the spinal cord is compressed or squeezed, often due to a herniated disc, bone spur, or other spinal abnormality. This compression can lead to a range of symptoms and, if left untreated, can cause permanent nerve damage and even paralysis.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Compression

The most common symptoms of spinal cord compression include:

  • Neck or back pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of coordination or balance
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction

The specific symptoms experienced will depend on the location and severity of the compression along the spinal cord.

Diagnosis of Spinal Cord Compression

To diagnose spinal cord compression, healthcare providers will typically perform a physical examination and order imaging tests such as:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize the spinal cord and surrounding structures
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans to assess the bony structures of the spine
  • Electromyography (EMG) to evaluate nerve function 1

These tests can help identify the underlying cause of the compression and guide appropriate treatment.

Treatment of Spinal Cord Compression

The treatment for spinal cord compression will depend on the cause and severity of the condition. In some cases, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, and bracing may be sufficient. However, in more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to relieve the compression and prevent further damage.

One treatment option that can be used in conjunction with other therapies is the use of a bone growth stimulator. Bone growth stimulators, such as the DJO Spinal Bone Growth Stimulator device, use pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy to stimulate the natural healing process of the bone. This can be particularly helpful in cases where a spinal fusion surgery is performed, as it can enhance the chances of achieving a successful fusion.

According to the information provided by Orthofix device has an overall clinical success rate of 92% in treating spinal fusion surgery patients. Additionally, the device can be used to treat a failed spinal fusion, reducing the need for revision surgery

By using a bone growth stimulator like the bone growth stimulators, patients with spinal cord compression may be able to improve their chances of successful bone healing and fusion, ultimately reducing the risk of further complications and improving their overall outcomes.

Check out this next blog for other spinal conditions.


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