Arachnoiditis

Arachnoiditis is a pain disorder caused by the inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membranes that surround the nerves of the spinal cord.The pain experienced by this disorder is said to be sever and constant. Unfortunately there in no known cure for arachnoiditis to date.
There are however, interventional pain options to decrease the pain coming from arachnoiditis.

Causes

The inflammation of the arachnoid can often times lead to the formation of scar tissue. This can cause the spinal nerves to stick together and not perform their specified functions properly.

The inflammation can be caused by:

  • Chemicals – Dyes used in myelograms, a diagnostic test in which the radiographic contrast media dye is injected near the spinal cord and nerves. Preservatives in epidural steroid injections are also said to cause the development of this disease.
  • Chronic compression of the spinal nerves – This happens with chronic degenerative disc disease or advanced spinal stenosis.
  • Complications following spinal surgery or spinal procedures – Spinal taps and epidurals have been said to cause arachnoiditis
  • Direct injury to the spine – This could develop after a major accident where the spine was injured.
  • Infection from bacteria or viruses – Meningitis and tuberculosis can lead to this painful disorder.

Symptoms

In most patients, the nerves connecting the lower back and legs are affected. Although symptoms vary
from patient to patient, most often arachnoiditis causes:

  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • Muscle cramps
  • Numbness in the legs
  • Sensation that insects are crawling on the skin
  • Spasms
  • Twitching

With the progression of the disease comes constant pain that may lead to disability and depression. Patients experiencing a severe case of arachnoiditis have had to cease working because the pain is too intense.