What is Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in older persons. The aging process results in degenerative changes in the cervical spine that, in advanced stages, can cause compression of the spinal cord.
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is the most common spinal cord disorder in persons more than 55 years of age in North America and perhaps in the world. As the number of older persons in the United States increases, the incidence of CSM will most likely increase.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms often develop insidiously and are characterized by neck stiffness, arm pain, numbness in the hands, and weakness of the hands and legs. The differential diagnosis includes any condition that can result in myelopathy, such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and masses (such as metastatic tumors) that press on the spinal cord. The diagnosis is confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging that shows narrowing of the spinal canal caused by osteophytes, herniated discs and ligamentum flavum hypertrophy.
How is it Treated?
Choice of treatment remains controversial, surgical procedures designed to decompress the spinal cord and, in some cases, stabilize the spine are successful in many patients.