Can a slip-and-fall accident cause cervical myelopathy?

When you visit stores and restaurants, you expect to have a safe and reasonably enjoyable experience. If there is upturned carpet, damaged flooring or unaddressed spills, though, you might slip, trip or fall. While some falls are minor, too many others come with catastrophic and life-limiting consequences.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, cervical myelopathy is a serious condition that happens when something compresses the spinal cord where it passes through the neck. While normal age-related degeneration can lead to cervical myelopathy, it can also develop after a slip-and-fall accident.

Why is cervical myelopathy dangerous?

Not only does your spinal cord require sufficient space, but it is also quite delicate. When vertebrae, disks or ligaments compress the spinal cord, it cannot deliver nerve signals to the rest of your body. Therefore, if you have cervical myelopathy, you might experience muscular weakness, numbness in your extremities or even paralysis.

How do doctors diagnose cervical myelopathy?

If doctors suspect you might have cervical myelopathy, you can expect them to order an MRI test. This test, which may take up to an hour to complete, provides a detailed picture of your cervical spine. Specifically, an MRI should tell doctors both the location of your spinal compression and its severity.

What is your prognosis?

Your ability to recover from spinal myelopathy depends on a few factors, including the severity of the condition and your overall health. Often, physicians recommend surgical intervention to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Physical and vocational rehabilitation also might help you return to good health.

Ultimately, even though treating cervical myelopathy is expensive, you might have grounds to seek financial compensation from the owner of the store where you slipped and fell.