tissue in the posterior (back) spinal arteries and/or its
branches due to a decrease or loss of oxygen to this
region. An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood
away from the heart. The posterior spinal artery
supplies supply the back third of the spinal cord. The
nerve fibers travelling through this area become
damaged by the decrease of oxygen.
The damage from the oxygen loss can also spread to
supplied by the posterior spinal artery.
In the spinal cord, the posterior horn is a horn-shaped area of gray matter (tissue), which
receives different types of sensory information such as vibration sense, light touch, and
proprioception. Proprioception is the ability to sense or perceive the spatial position and
movements of the body and the strength of effort that is needed in movement.
These functions are often affected to varying degrees in posterior myelopathy. Joint
position sense can be affected, which is a form of proprioception. Tendon reflexes are
also lost in posterior myelopathy. Tendons are groups of fibers that attach muscles to a
Posterior myelopathy is considered a type of vascular myelopathy
or vascular disease of the spinal cord. Vascular refers to the blood
anterior spinal artery. This is much more common than posterior
myelopathy because the regions supplied by the anterior spinal
artery are much more susceptible to oxygen loss than the white
matter regions supplied by the posterior spinal artery. White matter
is a group of white nerve fibers that conduct nerve impulses quickly.
Posterior myelopathy is also known as posterior spinal artery
syndrome. Posterior myelopathy comes from the Latin word
"posterior" meaning "behind," the Greek word "myelos" meaning
"marrow," and the Greek word "pathos" meaning "suffering."