Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Cervical Myelopathy and Radiculopathy

The causes of cervical myelopathy and radiculopathy are different. Radiculopathy can be caused by:

  • A pinched nerve
  • Bone spurs that press on the nerve roots
  • Degenerative disk disease or herniated disk

Myelopathy is commonly caused by:

  • Narrowing of the space around the spinal cord (spinal canal). As your spine changes with age, bone spurs and arthritis can make the spinal canal much smaller; this is known as spinal stenosis. These bone spurs and other tissue can press on the spinal cord and nerve roots affecting your normal nerve function.


To diagnose cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy, your physician may use:

  • Imaging studies, such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, with contrast dye to make any structural issues more visible
  • A physical exam to ascertain which movements cause you discomfort
  • Nerve function tests