What is cervical spondylotic myelopathy?
Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a compression of the spinal cord in the neck. (When doctors say the spinal cord is "compressed," they mean it is being pressed and squeezed.) CSM often affects older adults, but affects men at an earlier age than women.
In people who have CSM, changes in the bones, disks and ligaments of the spine cause pressure on the spinal cord. Sometimes bony growths called bone spurs add pressure to the spine. Some changes are because of normal aging. Some changes are caused by arthritis of the spine. CSM is the most common spinal cord problem in people 55 years of age or older in the United States.
Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: A Common Cause of Spinal Cord Dysfunction in Older Persons by WF Young (American Family Physician September 01, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000901/1064.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff