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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is cervical spine myelopathy?

    I have been told that this is what is causing weakness in my arms and stiff legs?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 4


    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Mudgee Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    Cervical spine myelopathy is due to narrowing of the dimensions of the spinal canal and is the most common form of spinal cord dysfunction in a person over the age of 55. 

    It has been reported that this process is present in up to 90% of individuals by 70yrs and up. 

    The stiffness in your legs is due to compression on a part of the spinal cord known as the corticospinal tract which produces pyramidal signs. This creates hyper-reflexia, a Babinski response, clonus and increased muscle tone in regions below the compression. At the side of compression there is often what is known as a lower motor neuron sign. This is the compression on the peripheral nerve going to your arm. This creates other symptoms, such as you're experiencing. 

  • 2


    Dr Adam Arnold

    Chiropractor, Hypnotherapist

    I specialize in working with the nervous system to ensure your body is working well. This includes but is not limited to musculoskeletal care. I … View Profile

    Great answer Dr. Ryan.
    I would like to add to this in very simple terms as I don't know if the person who wrote the question will understand some of the terminology in Dr. Ryan's post.
    If you can imagine your nerves are like wires in your house.  The nerves (wires) go to various parts of your body and control all of your body including the muscles and sensations in  your arms and legs.  If you flip the circuit breaker, the electricity stops.  The myelopathy is like partially switching a circuit breaker so that some electricity still goes through, but not all of it.  Ther result of less electricity is sensations and weakness in your arms / legs.  
    I appreciate the other healthcare practitioners know this analogy is very simplistic and its like saying a disc has slipped.  Technically discs don't “slip”, however most patients haven't studied spinal anatomy and don't really know what a radial tear in the annulus means.  

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