Pathobiology of Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy

  • Cory J. Hartman
  • Daniel J. HohEmail author


Symptomatic cervical spine pathology commonly presents with findings of radiculopathy and/or myelopathy. The underlying pathobiologic mechanism for radiculopathy and myelopathy is often multifactorial. Radiculopathy is the motor and/or sensory manifestation of neurologic dysfunction in the distribution of a given cervical nerve root. This can be due to static mechanical or dynamic compression of the nerve or secondary to biochemical factors. There are characteristic clinical symptoms and exam findings in cervical radiculopathy that correspond to specific cervical nerve roots. Myelopathy is the involvement of upper motor neuron and sensory impairment and can include long ascending and descending spinal tracts as well as multiple spinal root levels. Myelopathy can also be secondary to static mechanical or dynamic compression of the nerve. Additionally, vascular ischemia and stretch and shear forces have been implicated in myelopathy. The characteristic clinical presentation is often defined by loss of coordination, sensory dysfunction, hyperreflexia, and in severe cases weakness and bowel or bladder incontinence.


Cervical radiculopathy Cervical myelopathy Cervical spondylosis Cervical stenosis Cervical degenerative disc 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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