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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

A couple things: it should be clear to you that there is one truth related to those we spineys seek help from: opinions differ! Opinions differ greatly! If one has an issue that is not immediately obvious I feel it is necessary to go to a number of different specialists to begin to get an idea of what may be causing issues. Also in different parts of the country, the division of who does what differs. In some areas neurosurgeons seem to do most spine surgeries. In other areas, orthopedic spine surgeons have infiltrated and are equally considered.

In your case, I would suggest seeing a neurosurgeon if the first spine guy was an orthopedic spine surgeon for another opinion. If you receive conflicting advice regarding the immediate need for surgery, I would get a third opinion!

Here's what you need to know: cervical issues almost always take prescidence over lumbar issues. This (simply put in layman's terms) is because the spinal cord runs from the brain down to the beginning of the lumbar spine, L1 in most. The spinal cord is one of the main components that make up the central nervous system which controls ALL functions of the body and brain. As we know, if the spinal cord is badly injured, the area below the injury can end up paralyzed. Damage can be catastrophic and sometimes, life-threatening.

Since the spinal cord terminates at the beginning of the lumbar spine, lumbar issues, while very painful, almost never cause paralysis. One may develop foot drop, issues with bowel and bladder control, etc. but almost never paralysis. So, for these reasons, serious cervical issues take priority.

A PA who works in a spine clinic should know all about myelomalacia. As I mentioned, once one has a diagnosis of myelomalacia it needs to be watched. Surgery is not always necessary. Sometimes it doesn't progress. It is important to be under the care of a spine specialist who has your records and can follow your progress. I guess not all spine surgeons will do this. If you don't require surgery now, you are referred to another doctor. This was not my experience. I found a spine surgeon who managed my case for years.

Sounds like you have an interesting career. Hopefully it doesn't include skydiving, riding in bumpy vehicles across bumpy terrain, etc. You must treat your neck as though it is very fragile, remembering that myelomalacia weakens the spinal cord.

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