Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) is a recently coined term encompassing a variety of age-related and genetically associated pathologies, including cervical spondylotic myelopathy, degenerative disc disease, and ligamentous aberrations such as ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. All of these pathologies produce chronic compression of the spinal cord causing a clinical syndrome characterized by decreased hand dexterity, gait imbalance, and potential genitourinary or sensorimotor disturbances. Substantial variability in the underlying etiology of DCM and its natural history has generated heterogeneity in practice patterns. Ongoing debates in DCM management most commonly center around clinical decision-making, timing of intervention, and the ideal surgical approach. Pivotal basic science studies during the past two decades have deepened our understanding of the pathophysiologic mechanisms surrounding DCM. Growing knowledge of the key pathophysiologic processes will help us tailor personalized approaches in an increasingly heterogeneous patient population. This article focuses on summarizing the most exciting approaches in personalizing DCM patient treatments including biomarkers, factors affecting clinical decision-making, and choice of the optimal surgical approach. Throughout we provide a concise review on the conditions encompassing DCM and discuss the underlying pathophysiology of chronic spinal cord compression. We also provide an overview on clinical-radiologic diagnostic modalities as well as operative and nonoperative treatment strategies, thereby addressing knowledge gaps and controversies in the field of DCM.