By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
Spinal cord is a big nerve that connection the brain with the arms and legs. External compression to the spinal cord can interfere with the normal function of the nerves. People with spinal cord compression do not necessarily complain of neck pain or back pain. Spinal cord compression can occur in a few situations:
- Slowly because of wear and tear or degenerative process.
- Rapidly because of tumor or infection.
- Suddenly due to fracture
Whatever the cause is, the treatment of spinal cord compression is surgery to free up the spinal cord. Spinal cord compression from slow process results in difficulty walking and difficulty using the hands. Patients with this condition rarely becomes paralysed. The surgery does not need to be done urgently. However, when the spinal cord compression occurs rapidly or suddenly, the patient may become paralysed. This requires urgent surgery to free up the spinal cord.
Spinal cord compression should not be left untreated.
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.