Abstract We report a patient with a painless aortic dissection whose neurologic symptoms progressed over 5 days to a complete transverse myelopathy. She did not experience pain as her neurologic deficits evolved. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a thoracic aortic dissection extending from the arch to the level of the 12th thoracic vertebra and demonstrated ischemic changes in the spinal cord and one thoracic vertebral body. Aortic dissection must be included in the differential diagnosis of spinal cord syndromes even in the absence of pain. Early recognition of aortic dissection as a cause of progressive myelopathy may become increasingly important as new therapies for central nervous system ischemia are developed.