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A 78-year-old man comes to the physician because of progressively worsening pain in his joints and neck for the past 3 months. He says that the pain is worse when he rotates his head from side to side. Physical examination shows motor weakness in the arms and legs, mild ataxia, and slight ophthalmoplegia.

Which of the following best explains the findings seen in this patient?

A. Compression of a spinal nerve by osteoarthritic osteophytes
B. Compression of the vertebral artery by osteoarthritic osteophytes
C. Herniation of a nucleus pulposus of a cervical disc
D. Instability of the occipitoatlantal joint
E. Rupture of the anulus fibrosus of a cervical disc
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