What is Brown-Sequard Syndrome? Brown-Sequard syndrome (BSS) is a rare neurological condition characterized by a lesion in the spinal cord which results in weakness or paralysis (hemiparaplegia) on one side of the body and a loss of sensation (hemianesthesia) on the opposite side. BSS may be caused by a spinal cord tumor, trauma (such as a puncture wound to the neck or back), ischemia (obstruction of a blood vessel), or infectious or inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis, or multiple sclerosis.
Is there any treatment? Generally treatment for individuals with BSS focuses on the underlying cause of the disorder. Early treatment with high-dose steroids may be beneficial in many cases. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
What is the prognosis? The prognosis for individuals with BSS varies depending on the cause of the disorder.
What research is being done? The NINDS supports and conducts a wide range of research on spinal cord disorders such as BSS. The goal of this research is to find ways to prevent, treat, and, ultimately, cure these disorders.
I suffer from Brown-Séquard Syndrome and Posterior Cord Syndrome. I know the PCS was caused by my initial injury, but it is unknown to me whether BSS was caused by my spinal cord being crushed or from the inflammation caused by staph & strep bacteria in my incision/spine. I do have to say, BSS is something I haven't heard talked about very much, and I can understand why! It is so confusing and difficult to understand that I find myself asking almost every day why my left leg gets drug around while I walk, but my right leg works fairly well. The differences in sensation in my legs are slight and would be hardly noticeable if I didn't deal with it every day.
My right leg has good temperature, touch, vibe, and pain sensation. My right leg is hypersensitive to cold and pain in parts. My left leg is mostly numb to any and all sensations, which explains my recurring bruises. (Oops!) Spasms in my left leg are rare, while they are numerous in my right leg, even with regular doses of Baclofen.
The function in my right leg is much more preserved, and I have a teeny-tiny bit of proprioception in my foot. My left leg is completely numb except for 8 inches on the top of my thigh. It responds backwards to my attempts to move it and repeatedly gets itself in trouble if I'm not constantly looking where it is or touching it with my right foot. I occasionally will use my right leg to reposition my left one.
Having BSS is one of the most frustrating things to explain to people. I have only had one person realize and diagnose me with it-- my second physical therapist, whom I worked with at the nursing home in my short time there. It was refreshing to know what was going on.
I suffer from more muscle atrophy on my left leg than my right due to my lack of function. When I walk, my left leg tends to get drug or slid along the floor.
I get confused by the fact all the info about BSS states that function is usually preserved on one side while sensation is preserved on the other. My left side seems to have gotten the short end of the stick on both counts. Who knows. SCI is a confusing thing.
Sorry for my lengthy post. Thought I would give a bit more insight about BSS. It's a bit easier to understand from someone who deals with it 24/7 than from medical Mumbo-Jumbo.
Hi Knight Having read your post I agree with how you feel. I have Brown Sequard Syndrome after being knocked off a cycle by a car driver in 2012. The knowledge that medical staff have seems to very limited. I was rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke after my mobility decreased over a few days after the accident. I kept telling the hospital staff that I had not had a stroke but had a accident days ago. I was discharged from hospital four days later in the same condition with medication for a stoke but was told in my discharge letter that I had not had one. My Doctor who was in disbelief sent me to see a spinal surgeon and with the help of a neurologist and nerve tests I was correctly diagnosed. My symptoms are similar to your but my right arm is hypersensitive and at times excruciatingly painful as with my left leg burns hot all the time with loss of temperature sensation but with good strength and mobility. My right leg though has lost a lot of strength, drags as I walk, can be quite painful at times but the main problem I have with it is that at night and a little during the day it will go into spasm, these can continue through the night with my leg moving like a machine gun causing me to have to get up in the night and walk around. Also if I sit for any amount of time I get like a burning around my hips and groin. None of the medication I have been given by the doctors seem to help at all only sedate me which is one thing I don't wham I would rather have some sort of quality of life. Recently I have been having a lot of pain from my arm and muscles around my back due to the leg going into spasm and have been taking a drug naproxen for the pain as well as 1 25mg tablet of Lamotrigine which helps me to not have to go to the toilet urgently. Although I have taken the naproxen short term to try and quell the pain it does seem to have helped will the horrendous leg spasms. I hope any of this my help you. Regards Barny.
Mis diagnosis seems all too common sadly and medical staff with little knowledge is typical. What the medical profession dont seem to still be inderstanding is that this little knowledge has long lasting health implications for people as yourself.. .......
On a positive ..Its real good to see sharing info on what you have found works for you.
Hi Lara Thanks for the reply, yes as you say there seems to be a lot mis diagnosis happening, I had previously worked as a Paramedic for a large number of years and could of added a lot more about the way I was treated in a hospital. I had spent most of my now gone working life taking a multitude of stroke patient into A&E there so i did know what a stroke was, and the specialist Stroke Nurse (who new well) was the only who agreed with me and she said that I had a bleed on the spinal cord (which was right) but was not listened to by the junior doctors and the ward treated me as if I didn't exist, I think because I kept saying that I had not had a stroke.
Anyway sorry for going on, I could continue on and on about it but won't, but I have now seen 9 Consultants, been given a number of different types of medication to try now but each one just sedated me to the point of me doing nothing but sit at home in a daze. So after talking to my Doctor about having a bit of quality of life ( I used to cycle between 150 to 200 miles a week.) so now I take a small dose of medication that seems to have quelled the sudden need to go to the toilet but then causes constipation. Then I try to only take pain relief for the constant pain now and again when it gets unbearable. The strange thing is I can cycle every day on a exercise bike and go through the pain I get in my groin, but although I can walk short distances after 25-50 yards I start to go down hill. I have built a tricycle for me to use as my balance is not good at the moment but not used it yet, but hope to. Since finding your web site I have found it really good, helpful and puts things in perspective that I could be Worse than I am as there doesn't seem to be much help out there except from the doctors to just take medication for the symptoms and get on with your life.
Thanks for sharing barny! Please feel free to share whatever you like and don't be afraid to say too much. For the most part we're all on the same boat as you so it's interesting hearing about your experiences!
From what I have been told by the neurologist Knight my cord at the back has been damaged causing a lesion, interfering with the nerve signals traveling down to my legs. This has been diagnosed as BSS where I have a spastic right leg, a burning left leg with no temperature sensation and no reflexes, the reflexes and spasms in my right leg are extreme. It has also left me with burning in my groin and a burning right arm. For what I understand this is a partial injury to the spinal cord where the nerves have been basically cut but not all the way through the cord. Having looked up BSS on the internet I seem to have classical symptoms of BSS, apart from the burning arm which seems to be complexed regional pain syndrome but this can also be caused by a lesion on the cord.
Well it's strange for me because I have more spasms on my left side but more sensation on my right. I also thought that I had more strength on my right side but when I do certain workouts my body tells me otherwise.