Transverse Myelitis Sept 27, 2013 9:29:48 GMT -8
Post by DJ on Sept 27, 2013 9:29:48 GMT -8
What is transverse myelitis?
Transverse myelitis is inflammation of the spinal cord, which often targets insulating material covering nerve cell fibers (myelin). Transverse myelitis may result in injury across the spinal cord, causing diminished or absent sensation below the injury.
The disrupted transmission of nerve signals due to transverse myelitis can cause pain or other sensory problems, weakness or paralysis of muscles, or bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Several factors can cause transverse myelitis, including infections not directly affecting the spine and immune system disorders attacking the body's own tissues. It may also occur as an episode of other myelin disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
Treatment for transverse myelitis includes anti-inflammatory drugs, medications to manage symptoms and rehabilitative therapy. Most people with transverse myelitis experience at least partial recovery.
Signs and symptoms of transverse myelitis usually develop rapidly over a few hours and worsen over the course of a few days. Less commonly, signs and symptoms progress gradually over several days to weeks. Commonly, but not always, both sides of the body are affected.
Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Pain. Pain associated with transverse myelitis often begins suddenly in your neck or back, depending on the part of your spinal cord that's affected. Sharp, shooting sensations may also radiate down your legs or arms or around your abdomen.
- Abnormal sensations. Some people with transverse myelitis report sensations of numbness, tingling, coldness or burning. Some are especially sensitive to the light touch of clothing or to extreme heat or cold. You may feel as if the skin of your chest, abdomen or legs is being wrapped tightly by something.
- Weakness in your arms or legs. Some people with mild weakness notice that they're stumbling or dragging one foot or that their legs feel heavy as they move. Others may develop severe paralysis.
- Bladder and bowel problems. These problems may include an increased urinary urge, urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating and constipation.
People with transverse myelitis usually experience only one acute episode. However, complications often linger, including the following:
- Pain is one of the most common debilitating long-term complications of the disorder.
- Stiffness, tightness or painful spasms in your muscles (muscle spasticity), especially in your buttocks and legs, affect most people with lingering effects of transverse myelitis.
- Partial or total paralysis of your arms, legs or both may persist after the initial onset of symptoms.
- Sexual dysfunction is a common complication arising from transverse myelitis. Men may experience difficulty achieving an erection or reaching an orgasm. Women may have difficulty reaching an orgasm.
- Osteoporosis. Limited physical activity over the long term due to transverse myelitis may lead to osteoporosis, a thinning or weakening of bones. People with osteoporosis are at increased risk of bone fractures.
- Depression or anxiety is common in those with long-term complications because of the significant changes in lifestyle, the stress of chronic pain or disability, and the impact of sexual dysfunction on relationships.
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor or get emergency medical care if you're experiencing signs and symptoms of transverse myelitis. A number of neurological disorders can cause sensory problems, weakness, and bladder or bowel dysfunction. It's important to get a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Info sourced from here.