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CSM: Information For Patients

Patient Resources & Information is working to raise awareness of cervical spondylotic myelopathy in the medical and patient community in order to reduce delays in diagnosis.

Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy – The Facts

  • Up to five in every 100 people over the age of 40 may have the condition, but most will never be aware they have it.
  • Sufferers face long delays in diagnosis, often more than three years, which increases their chances of developing a life-long disability.
  • Fewer than five in every 100 sufferers will make a complete recovery following treatment, others will live with lifelong disabilities.

The charity and our support community are here to help.

Find out more using the resources below.

What is Cervical (Spondylotic) Myelopathy?  

CSM, or Cervical (concerning the neck) Spondylotic (“wear and tear” arthritis of the spine) Myelopathy (injury to the spinal cord) is a common spinal cord disorder. It results from degenerative changes in the spinal column which reduce the space for the spinal cord and thus cause compression and hence a spinal cord injury.

The disease processes that lead to CSM can therefore be thought of in two phases:

1) ‘Spondylosis’ or degeneration of the spinal column – the wear and tear arthritis changes that cause the injury. Learn More

2) ‘Myelopathy’ or damage of the spinal cord – the reaction of the spinal cord to compression. Learn More

3) Evolution of the Disease – the response of the spinal cord to compression appears to differ from one person to the next, meaning that the course of the disease varies. Learn More

There are many different symptoms of CSM and they are often mistaken for the signs of old age.

  • difficulty using their hands – dropping things, struggling to do up buttons etc.
  • difficulty using their legs – stiffness, unbalanced, changes in walking, falls etc.
  • changes in feelings and sensation – numbness, pins and needles etc.
  • difficulty passing urine and/or incontinence
  • pain
  • problems with mood and sleep

Learn More

MRI imaging is the mainstay of a CSM diagnosis. Learn more.

Sufferers often benefit from physiotherapy and/or surgery for the management of CSM.

Learn More

A number of sufferers have shared their personal experiences of CSM with us.

Read More