Factors Leading to Myelopathy

Myelopathy is a condition well known to Dr. RaKerry (Ra’Kerry) Rahman, a clinical faculty member at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine. RaKerry Rahman, MD, also practices as a cervical spine and scoliosis specialist at the prestigious Springfield Clinic.

Also known as “spinal cord compression,” myelopathy is a frequent factor in cervical or neck pain in people 55 and older. The disorder includes such conditions as transverse syndrome, central cord syndrome, and motor system syndrome. Its pain can involve spinal nerves or supportive tissue, in addition to problems with the vertebrae or the facet joints that hold them together.

Myelopathy is often associated with the accumulated stresses of aging. As the spine grows older, its discs dry up or decalcify, leading to a reduction in the space between the facet joints. This degeneration places added pressure on the spine and pushes against the nerve roots and the spinal cord.

Trauma, such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, or falls, also can contribute to myelopathy. In addition to causing fractures and dislocated joints, trauma often damages the tissues that keep the spine in proper position.

Inflammatory illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, may result in myelopathy in the upper neck. Infections, tumors, and birth defects are less common contributors.

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Supporting the Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine

An award-winning spine surgeon in the Midwest, Ra’Kerry Rahman, MD, currently serves as a cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon at Springfield Clinic, LLP. Outside of the expert care he provides at the office, Dr. RaKerry Rahman also uses his expertise to help various charitable organizations. He has previously volunteered with FOCOS during a complex spinal surgery medical-mission trip to Ghana, and he hopes to travel to other locations in the future.

The Foundation of Orthopedics and Complex Spine (FOCOS) was founded by Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei in 1998 in the hopes of improving the quality of life for people living in Ghana and other countries in Africa. Supported by the contributions of various volunteers and other individuals, along with a fund based in New York City, FOCOS has completed more than 1,100 corrective orthopedic procedures and built a dedicated FOCOS Hospital in Ghana.

There are several ways to support FOCOS and its ongoing mission. One is donating medical equipment or money. Monetary donations can be made online, over the phone, or through mail, while equipment donations are arranged on an individual basis. Individuals can also sponsor a child for surgery. On average, the surgery costs $20,000, and sponsors are able to personally connect with the patients and be involved in their healing process.

For additional hands-on experiences, professionals can volunteer for the various medical trips to Ghana and West Africa that FOCOS hosts every year. Most mission trips are two weeks long, and volunteers can be from a variety of health backgrounds. Finally, attending and supporting the organization’s annual Young Friends of FOCOS (YFF) events and FOCOS Gala helps the organization raise additional funds and spread awareness.

About Posterior Vertebral Column Resection

A board-certified surgeon and member of the Scoliosis Research Society, RaKerry Rahman, MD, focuses on treatment of spinal deformity and conditions of the cervical spine. Dr. Ra’Kerry Rahman also serves as an active lecturer and educator and recently presented an abstract that discussed 5 year outcomes of the procedure known as the posterior vertebral column resection.

Developed for the treatment of severe kyphosis and similar spinal deformities, posterior vertebral column resection incorporates many of the basic elements of the more traditional two-stage spinal column resection procedure. Both procedures require the surgeon to resect the spine in the areas where the deformity is present.

To perform the procedure, the surgeon removes the vertebra or vertebrae in order to perform the resection. The surgeon then stabilizes the apex spine with artificial structures and decompresses the nerves to enable realignment. Two-stage vertebral column resections require the surgeon to enter the area from the front as well as the back, but extremely skilled surgeons may perform the entire procedure with a fully posterior approach.

Pediatric Spinal Deformities: Congenital Kyphosis

Springfield-based medical professional RaKerry (Ra’Kerry) Rahman, MD, serves the Springfield Clinic as a cervical spine and scoliosis surgeon and a clinical assistant professor. Dr. RaKerry Rahman has a special interest in spinal deformities, such as idiopathic scoliosis in adults and adolescents and congenital kyphosis.

Congenital kyphosis occurs in the embryonic phase of life, within the first six to eight weeks. It affects the frontal section of one or more vertebral discs and bodies, causing failure of formation (a Type 1 deformity) or failure of segmentation (a Type 2 deformity). The condition results in a shift that causes the spine to bend forwards sharply. It is not yet understood what causes congenital kyphosis, and there is no known genetic link. In more severe cases of congenital kyphosis, the sharp forward spinal bending puts pressure on the spinal cord, which may in turn cause leg paralysis.

Failure of formation is usually detected following childbirth, identified as a small bump or lump on the child’s spine. Failure of segmentation occurs when two or more vertebrae do not separate to form regular discs. This type of spinal deformity may remain undetected until the child begins to walk.

A Brief Overview of Radiculopathy Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Radiculopathy pic RaKerry Rahman, MD, serves as a clinical assistant professor of spinal surgery at Southern Illinois University and treats patients as a cervical spine and scoliosis specialist at the Springfield Clinic, LLP. A skilled medical professional, Dr. Ra’Kerry Rahman has extensive experience treating a range of conditions, including radiculopathy.

Radiculopathy is a spinal condition caused by compressed or irritated nerve roots that produces mild to severe pain and numbness in the legs and arms. Although the condition can affect any part of the spine, it most commonly occurs in the neck and lower back. Some patients also experience radiculopathy in the middle of the spine, but that is fairly uncommon.

There are a number of conditions that can compress spinal nerves and cause radiculopathy, including herniated discs and scoliosis. Obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and pregnancy can also increase one’s risk for radiculopathy, especially in individuals 30 to 50 years old.

The good news for patients with radiculopathy is that they can typically improve their symptoms within six weeks to three months through conservative treatments, such as rest, medication, and physical therapy. In rare cases, however, these conservative treatments are ineffective and surgery may be needed to fully relieve pressure from the affected nerve.

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