Neck Pain: Common Complaint, Uncommon Diagnosis - Symptomatic Clival Chordoma

Ricardo Alvarado, John Gomez, Samuel G. Morale, Charles P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Patients presenting with neck complaints, such as pain or stiffness, are not uncommon in the Emergency Department. Complaints of neck instability, however, are unusual. We report the case of a 30-year-old woman who presented with multiple neck complaints that included having a "wobbly" sensation of her neck on flexion, feeling as if it were unstable. Our patient indeed had atlanto-occipital instability secondary to a locally destructive tumor of the cranial base, known as a clival chordoma. Chordomas are rare and unique bony tumors that arise along the neural axis and are thought to originate from the nucleus pulposus. The tumors are slow growing; locally invasive; and cause a variety of neurologic, musculoskeletal, cranial, and neck complaints. We describe this unique case and its presentations in an attempt to increase the sensitivity of physicians in early detection of this rare and lethal tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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