Clumping of nerve roots

The clumping of nerve roots and blood vessels is a main symptom of arachnoiditis — a rare and debilitating pain disorder that can affect the spine and brain. Arachnoiditis is characterized by inflammation of the arachnoid mater, also known as the arachnoid meninge, which is one of the protective membranes that line the brain and spinal column. When this inflammation leads to scarring, the nerve roots can begin to clump together, causing chronic compression of spinal nerve roots, which results in more inflammation and pain.

Symptoms and risk factors

Constant pain in the lower back, legs or throughout the entire body are the main symptoms of arachnoiditis. Other common symptoms include:

  • Shooting pain, 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, sometimes as a complication associated with multiple spinal surgeries
  • The introduction of blood, medications, dyes, anesthetics or other chemicals into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your spinal cord
  • Localized infection

Treatment and prevention for clumping of nerve roots

While there is no cure for arachnoiditis and associated clumping of nerve roots, there are treatments that may help ease or control symptoms such as medication, physical therapy and hot/cold therapy. Be aware that certain treatments, such as epidural steroid injections or traditional open spine surgery, can potentially worsen the condition. It’s very important to follow your doctor’s orders carefully and do not attempt any treatment without prior approval.

If you’ve experienced any of the painful symptoms commonly associated with arachnoiditis, keep in mind that some of these symptoms can be similar to those of several different spine conditions, such as a herniated disc or spinal arthritis. If you experience any of the above issues, visit a physician to receive a proper diagnosis.

Laser Spine Institute does not provide minimally invasive spine surgery for the treatment of arachnoiditis. Our outpatient procedures do provide relief for symptoms related to a wide range of degenerative spine conditions while offering less risk of complication compared to traditional open neck or back surgery. To learn more, contact our caring and dedicated team today.