Table 1

Speed of onset and likely cause of myeloradiculopathy

OnsetExamples of pathophysiology
Hyperacute…seconds, minutes, hours…Traumatic
Vascular (haemorrhagic or ischaemic)
Acute…hours, days, weeks…Compressive (abscess, tumour, intervertebral disc)*
Inflammatory (including infective and post-infective)
Subacute…days, weeks, months…Metabolic (eg, B12 deficiency)
Compressive
Inflammatory
Chronic…months, years, decades…Compressive (eg, spondylotic)
Inflammatory (eg, HTLV-1 infection, primary progressive multiple sclerosis)
Heredo-degenerative
Syringomyelia
  • * Compression from abscess, tumour or disc may also be subacute or acute-on-chronic.

  • Non-infective inflammatory lesions are usually subacute or chronic in onset, but can occasionally strike abruptly, as in ‘stroke-like’ presentations of multiple sclerosis.