Cervical myelopathy is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction
in the older population. The aging process results in degenerative changes
in the cervical spine that, in advanced stages, can cause compression
of the spinal cord.
There are various causes of cervical myelopathy such as trauma, viral processes,
inflammatory or autoimmune disorders, tumors and most commonly degenerative
spondylosis and disc
Symptoms of cervical myelopathy include:
- Neck stiffness
- Arm pain
- Numbness in the hands
- Weakness of the hands and legs
- Clumsy hands and feet
- Poor balance
Diagnosis of cervical myelopathy can be difficult because of the multiple
causes and of similar symptoms. Gathering the medical history of each
patient is crucial as each patient is different. Diagnosis is usually
made based on the medical history as well as the results of various imaging
studies that may be done in order to determine the correct diagnosis.
MRIs may be used to obtain high-resolution images of the cervical spinal
canal and the spinal cord.