Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common spinal cord disorder in people over the age of 55. Myelopathy (my·e·lop·a·thy) is deterioration of the spinal cord. Myelopathy caused by spinal arthritis and degenerative disks (spondylosis) is called cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Myelopathy is essentially a slow and insidious spinal cord injury.
Of all the spinal conditions that I treat, myelopathy is the most likely to be previously misdiagnosed. Cervical and lumbar radiculopathy (radiating arm or leg pain from a pinched nerve) and lumbar stenosis with neurogenic claudication (pain in the low back and buttocks from a narrow spinal canal) are often accurately diagnosed and have been treated with appropriate nonoperative interventions prior to being referred to a spine surgeon. Patients with cervical myelopathy, on the other hand, often present with vague complaints and have not been accurately diagnosed. Some “vague” complaints include:
“Cervical Myelopathy: A Slow and Insidious Spinal Cord Injury”