The greatest challenge facing those with degenerative cervical myelopathy is understanding and expressing their symptoms and to have a medical practitioner recognize and diagnose the condition early. In my experience neck pain is most often the earliest symptom patients can distinguish and express effectively to others but can often be disregarded by patients until other symptoms present.
Other symptoms such as motor difficulties are harder to recognise, describe and understand until symptoms have progressed, leading to difficulty walking or falls. Myelopathy.org has been a great resource for my patients to understand their diagnosis and the reason for their symptoms. Educational efforts for the general public and medical practitioners will hopefully allow for earlier diagnosis and better outcomes.
Every day in my clinic, people with degenerative cervical myelopathy considering surgery ask me how long it will take to recover and if they will ever get back to ‘normal’. I explain the positive AO Spine data for early surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy, however the patient stories of journeys to post-operative recovery on myelopathy.org are more relatable for my patients.
I look forward to myelopathy.org growing and providing a voice and resource to people at all stages of their journey with degenerative cervical myelopathy.
About Dr Rory Murphy
Dr Murphy is a neurosurgeon and assistant professor at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Barrow Brain and Spine specializing in complex spine surgery, cervical myelopathy, tumours and spinal cord injuries.
Barrow Neurological Institute is the world’s largest dedicated neurosurgical centre and a leader in neurosurgical training, research, and patient care. Dr Murphy has received numerous prizes from American Academy of Neurosurgery/ Congress of Neurosurgery and published in Nature, Neurosurgery, Spine and The Journal of Neurosurgery. Dr Murphy and his team are participating in a number of international trials aiding patients with cervical myelopathy and acute cervical spinal cord injuries.
Dr Murphy is a site PI for the Department of Defence funded Systemic Hypothermia in Acute Cervical Spinal Cord Injury Trial and was a primary investigator on a Missouri State Spine Injury Research Program project and has been funded by the McDonnell Neuroscience Centre.