Potential Symptoms: OPLL

Symptoms may range from mild to severe. Mild symptoms include:

  • Mild pain, tingling, and/or numbness in the hands
  • Numbness in neck, shoulder or arm
  • Unpleasant sensation that accompanies touch
  • Clumsiness
  • The majority of cases will include a slow progression of symptoms, but in some cases, symptoms may suddenly become worse after a mild injury, for instance. (The Spine Hospital)

Symptoms may become more severe:

If the ligament takes up valuable space within the spinal canal as it thickens, it may compress (squeeze) the spinal cord, producing myelopathy. Symptoms of myelopathy (spinal cord compression) include difficulty walking and difficulty with bowel and bladder control. OPLL may also cause radiculopathy, or compression of a nerve root. Symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include pain, tingling, or numbness in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand. – The Spine Hospital at The Neurological Institute of New York

he cervical spine occurs more often than thoracic OPLL.

OPLL is classified into four types. (Vikram Chauhan, MD)

  1. Continuous – Ossification spans several vertebral bodies + the disk spaces between
  2. Segmental – Ossification behind each vertebral body
  3. Mixed – Combination of both Continuous and Segmental OPLL
  4. Localized or other – Ossification is localized to the inter-vertebral disc space without involving the vertebral body

The Continuous and Mixed types are more likely to be associated with the progression to myelopathy (spinal cord compression).