Patients with spinal cord problems complain mainly of gradual loss of coordination; i.e. walking and using their hands. For example, they observe that they cannot walk in straight line or button their shirts. Other symptoms include: heavy feeling of the legs and shooting pains in the arms and hands. These may be also include pain in the neck and spasm of the neck muscles.
The doctor will take a history of the illness, and then conduct an examination for weakness and reflexes in the arms and legs, and for any sensation changes.
The diagnosis will be confirmed by performing X-rays and a scan (called an MRI) of the cervical spine. The MRI will show exactly how much the spinal canal is narrowed and how much it is affecting the spinal cord.
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