A group from the United States have been looking at this problem with respect to what patients tell doctors in the context of neck pain; e.g. "Doctor, I have difficulty looking up at the ceiling." They conducted a search of the medical literature, to see if there are any studies looking at this. For myelopathy, they found a single study from Japan.
In this study, the Japanese group compared the answers to a number of questions they developed between patients with myelopathy, and patients with neck pain without myelopathy. Based on these results, they were able to develop the questionnaire below. If you score 6 or more, you have a 60% chance of having myelopathy. But the assessment will fail to diagnose 7% of patients.
Tools which can be transferred to primary care are much need to support the timely diagnosis of myelopathy. This assessment needs further validation in more general groups of patients, but it is an interesting idea and Myelopathy.org supports any work that will help diagnose patients sooner!
(1) Mizer, A., Bachmann, A., Gibson, J., & Donaldson, M. B. (2017). Self-report and subjective history in the diagnosis of painful neck conditions: A systematic review of diagnostic accuracy studies. Musculoskeletal Science & Practice, 31, 30–44. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.msksp.2017.06.002
(2) Kobayashi, H., Kikuchi, S., & Otani, K. (2010). Development of a self-administered questionnaire to screen patients for cervical myelopathy
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