Woman's spine

It is often assumed that myelopathy and radiculopathy are the same condition. However, while myelopathy is sometimes accompanied by radiculopathy, they are different:

  • Myelopathy results from spinal cord compression and can affect the entire spinal cord.
  • Radiculopathy results from compression on an individual nerve root, occurring when a nerve or nerves along the spine become pinched.


Myelopathy can be painless because in some cases pressure on the spinal cord will result in loss of function rather than pain. Noticeable symptoms can vary but may include:

  • Loss of coordination or dexterity
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Walking difficulty

Symptoms of radiculopathy include:

  • Pain that radiates down the arm or leg
  • Limb weakness
  • Decreased reflexes

Diagnosis and Treatment

Myelopathy and radiculopathy can occur separately or at the same time. Our spine specialists can distinguish between the two through a physical exam and diagnostic imaging tests (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, etc.).

Myelopathy treatments may include:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Brace
  • Spinal decompression surgery
  • Spinal fusion
  • Disc replacement

Radiculopathy treatments may include:

Contact Us

To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call the spine team at UM St. Joseph Medical Center at 410-337-4882. Meet our expert spine team.