Arachnoiditis is a rare pain disorder caused by the swelling and inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membrane groups that protect the spinal nerves. Arachnoiditis is associated with severe pain and neurological problems and is typically brought on by infection or traumatic injury. Arachnoiditis is a progressive disorder that worsens with time. There is no cure for arachnoiditis at present, so treatment only consists of symptom management.
Symptoms of arachnoiditis vary depending on the individual and change over time as the disease progresses. At the onset of arachnoiditis, when symptoms are very mild, some people may believe they have a muscle or joint injury. What they believe to be an orthopedic issue is actually a neurological one, so massages or physical therapy won’t have much of an effect.
Other common symptoms of arachnoiditis include:
- Changes in vision
- Nerve pain
- Unusual sensations such as burning or tingling anywhere on the body
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Muscle weakness
- Shooting pain similar to an electric shock
Injuries sustained during spinal surgery account for 60% of arachnoiditis cases. Other causes include:
- Myelography (dye used in diagnostic tests)
- Lumbar puncture
- Physical trauma (car accident)
- Cancer in or around the spine
There is no cure for arachnoiditis, so treatment consists of symptom management to help relieve pain. Pain medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, or narcotics. The type of medication depends on the severity of the condition, and opioids are only prescribed in extreme circumstances.
Besides medication, some people may find relief through physical therapy, nerve stimulation, acupuncture, or other holistic lifestyle changes.
For a comprehensive evaluation from the experts at Brain2Spine Institute, call 727-828-8400.