The human spine is a massive network of interconnected nerves. These nerves send signals to your body from your brain and back. But when something happens to disrupt the network, these messages are intercepted and blocked.
Spinal cord compression is one way that this can happen. The condition is the result of a mass of some kind putting pressure on the spinal cord. It can occur anywhere along the spine, starting with the neck and running through to the lower back.
The term “mass” is can be scary; however, it’s not necessarily something that requires surgery to fix. A spinal cord compression mass could be a bone fragment, or it may be a tumor. Your doctor will send you for diagnostic testing to find out what you’re dealing with that’s causing the problem.
A compressed spine can show itself in a variety of ways, depending on the severity of the compression and where it’s located.
Typically, the average spinal compression condition is associated with one or all of these symptoms:
Should your symptoms worsen to the point where you lose control of your bowel or bladder, or the numbness and pain become severe, talk to your doctor.
For the most part, mild spinal cord compression symptoms can be relieved with home care.
Treatment for your condition depends on the cause. With this diagnosis, you could be referred to other specialists, such as bone surgeons, arthritis or nerve doctors, or a physical therapist.
To manage the pain and inflammation, medication may be prescribed or you can use OTC naproxen or ibuprofen.
Physical therapy is frequently recommended as a way to exercise the muscles around the compression and teach you how to move to avoid irritating the problem.
Chiropractic care, massage therapy, and acupuncture are alternative treatments that work well for many patients.
At home, there are a few things you can do to speed up your recovery and prevent more pain. Light exercises and gentle stretches help strengthen the muscles. Using a brace or cervical collar throughout the day supports the back and neck.
Ice packs for 15 minutes, 3 times a day reduce inflammation in the injured area, helping to relieve pain. Alternate ice with hot packs to soothe sore muscles, 20 minutes, 3 times a day.
You should also rest and limit any activities that cause the spinal cord compression to become more irritated.
In some cases, this condition requires surgical intervention to correct. Before you get to that point, talk to your physician about other options.
Speeding up your healing and recovery time can be done from your own home, too. With a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine, you get the benefits of physical therapy modalities at your convenience.
The CPM machine improves blood flow and moves or eliminates the fluid build-up in the damaged area. With regular use, your spinal cord compression symptoms can be minimized.
Decompression has been shown to be beneficial to the body since it aids in the movement of synovial fluids through the joints. Decompression, on the other hand, is costly because it must be done twice a year; that money could purchase 6 Back Pro Motorized tables and have the same result.