Arachnoiditis

The brain, spinal cord and its nerves are covered and protected by three membranes:

  • dura mater
  • arachnoid mater
  • pia mater

Arachnoiditis is inflammation of the arachnoid membrane covering the spinal nerves which is mainly characterized by a stinging or burning pain. It usually affects the nerves supplying the lower back and legs.

Symptoms of arachnoiditis can include:

  • Numbness and weakness in the legs
  • Tingling or a sensation of insects crawling on the legs
  • Spasm, twitching and cramps
  • Bowel and bladder difficulties
  • Sexual problems

The pain and other symptoms usually worsen over time interfering with your regular activities. Inflammation causes scar tissue to develop which in turn cause the spinal nerves to adhere and malfunction.

Causes of arachnoiditis:

  • Injury to the spine
  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Dyes used in certain diagnostic tests Myodil Myelography
  • Complication of spine surgery

The diagnosis can be confirmed on MRI scan showing the presence of clumping of nerve roots in the thecal sac. An electromyogram which uses electrical impulses to study nerve function may be performed to assess the severity of your condition.

There is NO CURE for arachnoiditis. The treatment aims at relieving pain and improving functionality with the assistance of pain management, physical therapy, and psychotherapy programs.

  • Westmead Private Hospital
  • FRACS
  • Neuro Surgical Society
  • the University of Sydney