Here are pictures from Axel's MRI done a couple weeks ago. I put an arrow to the problem areas. It is important to remember when looking at these that Axel did not have one single symptom!!!! As his surgeon put it, he was "one bad cough away from catastrophic injury".
First, here is a picture of a normal Cervical Spine MRI. You can see how the spinal cord maintains it's shape up the entire spinal column, and there is a pretty equal amount of spinal fluid around it all the way up the length as well.
This first picture shows a couple of things. First, the arrow points to where the C1 vertebra is pushing against the spinal cord. Also, you can see on the front (left) side of the cord, between the C2 and C3 vertebrae, the disk looks different that the disks between the other vertebrae. That's because it doesn't have enough fluid in it to provide a cushion between the two vertebrae.
This pictures shows the Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) that surrounds the spinal cord. It is the white area around the cord. You can see where the arrow is how the CSF fluid is being blocked from getting to the brain. Thankfully it can also get to the brain on the back side of the spinal cord as well. Also, the spinal cord itself is more narrow in that area because of the movement of the C1 vertebrae.