What is cervical myelopathy and how does it develop

Cervical myelopathy is the most common cause of spinal cord dysfunction in patients older than age 55. Spinal cord dysfunction arises secondary to spinal cord compression, a diminished vascular supply, or both. In some patients, spinal cord compression occurs due to a congenitally narrowed spinal canal. In the majority of patients, spinal cord dysfunction occurs secondary to compression by degenerative changes associated with the normal aging process. Progressive cervical spondylosis may lead to spinal cord compression, which may be exacerbated by spinal instability (e.g. spondylolisthesis), especially at C3-C4 or C4-C5, kyphotic deformity, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), and large central disc herniations. Rheumatoid arthritis with associated instability involving the craniocervical, atlantoaxial, or subaxial spinal regions is an additional cause of cervical myelopathy.

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