Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy

Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy is a degenerative osteoarthritis of the joints occurring in the neck. Osteoarthritis is often referred to as wear and tear arthritis, due to the cartilage on the ends of your bones wearing down over time. In the neck the spinal canal narrows, compressing the spinal cord and affecting it’s ability to send and receive signals to and from the body properly. This can make even seemingly simple tasks like writing a grocery list or feeding yourself exceedingly difficult. There are several causes for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy, but the most common causes are aging and soft-tissue abnormalities due to injury. Symptoms generally begin around age 50-55, steadily worsening over time. Patients with Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy will likely require surgery to decompress the spinal cord and to prevent further deterioration. Cervical Laminoplasty is the recommended surgery to treat Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy.

Symptoms

  • Pain and stiffness in neck
  • Pain radiating down arm
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Weakness
  • Clumsiness/coordination problems: tying shoes, buttoning a shirt, etc.
  • Difficulty walking
  • In severe cases: loss of bladder or bowel control

Causes

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cervical disk degeneration
  • Injury
  • Dehydrated discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Stiff ligaments
  • Less common causes: tumors, infections, congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae