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Symptoms of CSM

There are many different symptoms of CSM

Whilst a long list of potential symptoms are associated with CSM, not all patients are affected in the same way. However, cervical myelopathy can be progressive, so symptoms may get worse over time but the rate of progression varies from one sufferer to the next.
Despite this, most sufferers will probably experience some or all of the following symptoms:

Pre-symptomatic

Initially, the injury to the spinal cord does not cause any symptoms so the sufferer would not know that the damage has taken place. This is probably due to the body’s ability to adapt and mask subtle problems, and some limited repair capacity of the spinal cord.

These changes can only be detected using special imaging techniques.

Early Symptoms

Early symptoms will be subtle, and often mistaken for ‘getting older’ or another condition.

Commonly they include:

  • Being prone to dropping things
  • Struggling to type or do up buttons
  • Prone to falling
  • Pain

In CSM, neurological symptoms are often combined with symptoms resulting from the underlying wear and tear arthritis of the neck which include neck stiffness and pain.

At early stages, CSM most commonly affects the hands, causing numbness and clumsiness, and imbalance, which can affect walking.

Furthermore, focal compression of exiting nerves can cause radicular symptoms, i.e. numbness and pain running into the arms and associated weakness.

CSM can occur at any age but most individuals will be affected in mid to late stages of life.

Read about how others are affected in Patient Stories