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The CSM Disease Course is Working to Understand The Course of CSM

CSM is considered a progressive disease, but the rate of progression varies greatly from one patient to the next. Some patients can remain only mildly affected for years, whereas others progressively deteriorate. The rate of progression cannot currently be predicted.

Bumps in the Road: The Significance of Falls
Disease progression is generally considered a gradual decline. However, patients with any form of cervical stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal which contains the spinal cord) are at risk of a sudden deterioration due to trauma, such as a minor fall.

Why is this? Normally the spinal cord moves within its canal in response to movements of the neck. However, when there is narrowing of the canal there is less room for the spinal cord to move. So if a sudden force is applied to the neck, the spinal cord is more easily compressed and, in rare cases, this can lead to paralysis.

Altering the CSM Disease Course

Once an MRI scan shows that the spinal cord is compressed, approximately one quarter of patients will develop symptoms of CSM within four years. However, long periods can occur where the disease remains stable, or the symptoms even improve.

The only treatment for CSM at present, is surgery to relieve the pressure on the cord. This has been shown to stop further spinal cord damage, but the amount of recovery depends on the extent of injury at that time of surgery.