Show Summary Details
Page of

Spinal cord disorders 

Spinal cord disorders
Chapter:
Spinal cord disorders
Author(s):

David Bates

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198569381.003.0650
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 October 2018

Non-traumatic spinal cord disease may be caused by compression due to tumour, infection or haematoma, inflammation, infection or post-infection, metabolic disturbances, infarction, and degeneration. The diagnosis is often made easier by the clinical assessment: the patient’s age, the speed of onset of the disease, severity of the deficits, the pattern of motor and sensory involvement, and presence of pain and sphincter symptoms are all important in making an assessment of the site and likely nature of the spinal disease.

Investigations are obligatory to confirm a diagnosis and to direct therapy. MRI is the most useful investigation. It has largely replaced myelography which should now only be considered in patients with indwelling cardiac pacing wires. Additional investigations including examination of the cerebrospinal fluid, evoked potentials, and specific blood tests may be required and the value of plain X-rays, CT scan, and, in some instances, angiography should not be overlooked.

The remainder of this chapter will consider specific disorders, identifying pathology, clinical presentation, investigation, and management. Acute and chronic conditions are considered separately and those affecting the cauda equina, spinal root, and sphincters are considered in Chapter 29.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.