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Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Case Report of Delayed Diagnosis in a Younger Man


BACKGROUND: Degenerative cervical myelopathy is most caused by degenerative cervical stenosis in an over 55-year age group. However, it may occur in younger ages, most commonly due to large cervical disc protrusions.

CASE PRESENTATION: The case report describes a 42-year-old male, who presented with progressive ataxia and upper limb discoordination over a 4-year period. He was initially diagnosed and treated for bilateral carpal tunnel releases. Following his persistent symptoms, cervical magnetic resonance imaging was performed, which confirmed a large cervical C4/5 disc protrusion.

OUTCOME AND FOLLOW-UP: Although initially managed with observation, his continuing decline resulted in emergency cervical decompression. Surgery for myelopathy aims to prevent further deterioration, and timely treatment is therefore critical to restoring function.

DISCUSSION: This case highlights the difficulties faced by people with degenerative cervical myelopathy to obtain a diagnosis and treatment, and the consequences. Myelopathy is an important differential diagnosis to consider irrespective of age. Where suspected, a cervical spine MRI should be requested. JOSPT Cases 2022;2(4):220–225. Epub: 12 October 2022. doi:10.2519/josptcases.2022.11088


(2022). Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy: A Case Report of Delayed Diagnosis in a Younger Man.

Acceptance Date Oct 12, 2022
Publication Date Nov 15, 2022
Journal JOSPT cases
Print ISSN 2767-293X
Pages 220-225
Keywords awareness, case report, degenerative cervical myelopathy, diagnostic delay, misdiagnosis, telemedicine
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