The clumping of nerve roots and blood vessels is the main physical symptom of arachnoiditis, a rare and debilitating pain disorder that can affect the spine and brain. Arachnoiditis is characterized by an inflammation of the arachnoid mater, also known as the arachnoid meninge, which is one of the membranes that lines the brain and spinal column. The inflammation of the critical arachnoid membrane is not only a cause, but a symptom as well. When inflammation leads to scarring, the nerve roots stick together, causing chronic compression of spinal nerve roots, which causes more inflammation.
Constant pain in the lower back, legs or throughout the entire body are the main symptoms of arachnoiditis. Other common symptoms include:
- Shooting pain, paresthesia (tingling), numbness and weakness in lower limbs
- Twitching and muscle spasms
- Tactile hallucinations, especially along the legs
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of bladder or bowel control, which indicates an emergency condition requiring immediate care
- Paralysis of lower body, which also is an emergency condition requiring immediate treatment
Risk factors for developing arachnoiditis include:
- Trauma of the arachnoid mater, usually as a result of multiple spinal surgeries
- The introduction of blood, medications, dyes, anesthetics or any other chemical into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your spinal cord
- Localized infection
There is no cure for arachnoiditis. Certain treatments, such as epidural steroid injections or traditional open spine surgery, can often exacerbate the condition. Also, if you’ve experienced any of the painful symptoms commonly associated with arachnoiditis, keep in mind that these symptoms mimic the symptoms of several different spinal conditions. For more information, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We’ll review your MRI or CT scan to determine your eligibility for one of our outpatient procedures.