What is the Treatment for Spinal Cord Compression?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Typically, the first step in treatment for spinal cord compression involves surgery to reduce the compression. Other forms of effective treatment include the insertion of steel rods to stabilize the spine, radiation therapy and medications to decrease discomfort and inflammation. Often, patients are encouraged to undergo a variety of treatments in order to ensure the most complete recovery.

Spinal cord compression is a condition characterized by high amounts of pressure on the spinal cord. It is very important for individuals diagnosed with this condition to seek treatment as soon as possible, as failure to do so can result in paralysis or severe nerve damage. Surgery is often the first step in the complete treatment of spinal cord compression. Those who are very young, elderly, or who suffer from an impaired immune system, however, may be required to rely on other forms of treatment for spinal compression. The risks posed by spinal surgery may be too much for these individuals.

Those who experience spinal cord compression may require additional surgeries. Implanting steel rods, for instance, has proved effective in providing additional support to the spinal cord, thereby preventing relapse or further deterioration of the spinal column. The insertion of steel rods can be quite painful. Often, patients who undergo this treatment receive orders from their physicians for complete bed rest for a significant period of time.


In some cases, those diagnosed with this condition may require the use of radiation. This is most often the case for individuals who develop spinal compression due to cancer or other diseases which are degenerative in nature. Individuals who undergo radiation treatment for spinal compression must be closely monitored by a physician for signs of cancer relapse. If choosing medications to treat spinal cord compression, the most common include corticosteroids, which are effective for swelling and pain. Pain medications are often prescribed for only a short period of time, in order to avoid possible dependency.

Individuals diagnosed with spinal cord compression are typically encouraged to undergo physical therapy. Physical therapy can help patients with this condition increase range of motion, thereby decreasing pain and making activities of daily living much easier to perform. For complete treatment, patients may be required to spend several months with a physical therapist.


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Post 1

My father in law has got a spinal cord injury where his plates just below the base of the head (neck region) have become compressed. I believe it's the F4 and F5 plates or it could even be the F5 and F6 plates).

The neurosurgeons said that an operation might result in complications so to try physiotherapy and see if there are improvements. There were improvements in the first two to three months but in the last six to seven weeks, there has been a regression back to my father in law not being able to get up and walk. Are there any new techniques available.

Someone said there is a new technique whereby something is injected where the compression has taken place and then recovery is quite rapid. Is this true?

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