Arachnoiditis arach·noid·itis (ə- rak-nȯid-ˈīt-əs) is a condition that is characterized by stinging, burning pain and neurological problems.
A common symptom is chronic and persistent low back pain, lower limb pain.
It is inflammation of the arachnoid lining. This is one of three linings that surround the brain and spinal cord.
This inflammation causes:
- Constant irritation
- Binding of nerve roots
- Binding blood vessels
In the intradural space 3 meninges or protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
- Dura mater
- Pia Mater
Symptoms of Arachnoiditis
Predominant symptoms are chronic pain in the:
- Low back
- Lower limbs
- In severe cases the entire body
Other symptoms can include:
- Leg tingling, numbness, and weakness
- Weird sensations like the feeling of insects crawling on the skin or water running down the leg
- Shooting pain like an electric shock sensation
- Muscle cramps, spasms, and twitching
- The bladder, bowel, and possible sexual dysfunction
Progression of the disease can make symptoms more severe and possibly permanent.
The pain is constant and incurable, which makes the disorder very debilitating. Those with arachnoiditis usually cannot work and have a disability.
Three main causes of arachnoiditis are:
Arachnoiditis has been recognized as a rare complication of spinal surgery usually after multiple or complex surgeries.
It can also be caused by trauma to the spine.
Similar causes include:
- Multiple lumbar punctures
- Advanced spinal stenosis
- Chronic degenerative disc disease
Myelograms have come under scrutiny as being a possible cause of the condition.
A myelogram is a test where a radiographic contrast dye is injected into the area around the spinal cord and nerves.
The dye becomes visible on:
- MRI scans
Used by physicians to diagnose spinal conditions.
Now there is a concern that repeated exposure to some of these dyes may cause arachnoiditis.
There is also a concern of the preservatives found in epidural steroid injections, that they may cause the condition, especially if the steroid medicine accidentally enters the cerebral spinal fluid.
The disorder can also be caused by certain infections that affect the spine like:
- Viral and fungal meningitis
Currently, there is no cure for arachnoiditis.
Therefore, treatment is aimed at pain relief and is similar to how other chronic pain conditions are treated.
- Spinal cord stimulation: is one of the best treatment options. Spinal cord stimulation runs on a device that transmits electrical signals to the spinal cord for relief.
- Lidocaine intravenous infusions: Lidocaine is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Ketamine infusions: Ketamine is an anesthetic, that also helps with pain relief.
- Low-dose naltrexone is an anti-inflammatory for chronic pain management.
- Pain medications like:
- Corticosteroids either taken orally or injected
- Anti-spasm drugs
- Anti-convulsants for burning pain
- Physical therapy based on a doctor’s recommendation like:
- Hot/cold therapy
Surgery is not recommended because it causes more scar tissue to develop and makes the irritated spine susceptible to more trauma.
Living with the Arachnoiditis
- This condition can be extremely disabling.
- Living with chronic pain is not an easy thing to do.
- It affects the body and also causes mental stress.
- People with the condition are encouraged to join support groups or find therapeutic outlets for stress.
- Treatment plans are focused on pain relief and keeping a high quality of life.
- Research is ongoing to find a cure.
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Patients with chronic pain discuss how their symptoms have affected their overall health and wellness. With chiropractic care, patients describe how Dr. Jimenez, a doctor of chiropractic or chiropractor in El Paso, Texas, has helped them recover their original quality of life.
Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment option that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a variety of health issues, including chronic pain and personal injuries. Patients highly recommend Dr. Jimenez and his staff as the non-surgical choice for auto accident injuries and slip-and-fall accidents.
Those who continue to deal with the pain after a few weeks’ time may choose to look for other solutions. This is also true for people who experience repeated flare-ups, or chronic lower back pain. One of the best and most popular options is chiropractic care. Chiropractic care doesn’t focus solely on the pain but helps the body heal itself. Chiropractors understand the bones, muscles, discs, and nerves in the back, and can figure out the reason for the pain.
From there, they can create a customized treatment plan from compresses to spinal manipulation to exercises that help heal the area and reduces the pain.