Cervical Myelopathy

Cervical Myelopathy

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.

Causes

There are various causes of cervical myelopathy such as trauma, viral processes, inflammatory or autoimmune disorders, tumors and most commonly degenerative conditions including spondylosis and disc herniation.

Symptoms

Symptoms of cervical myelopathy include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Arm pain
  • Numbness in the hands
  • Weakness of the hands and legs
  • ŸClumsy hands and feet
  • ŸPoor balance

Diagnosis

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.

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