The distinctive patterns of myelopathy (disorder of the spinal cord) and radiculopathy (disorder of spinal roots) are a direct consequence of the striking anatomy of the spinal cord:
its near cylindrical, segmental structure of great length (42–45 cm in adults)
the marked proximity of ascending and descending long tracts within the confines of a narrow cross sectional area (the maximum circumference of the cervical enlargement of the cord is approximately 38 mm)
enclosure by meninges and vertebral column
vulnerable blood supply.