Monthly Article

Arachnoiditis Pain Can Be Relieved - December 1, 2017

The arachnoid is a membrane that surrounds and protects the nerves of the spinal cord. When inflamed, it can cause a pain disorder called arachnoiditis. Scar tissue, which can be formed by inflammation of the arachnoid, can cause the spinal nerves to attach and malfunction.

The arachnoid can become irritated and inflamed due to:

  • Direct injury to the spine
  • Chemicals
  • Infection from bacteria or viruses
  • Chronic compression of spinal nerves
  • Complications from spinal surgery or other invasive spinal procedures

In many people, it can affect the nerves connecting to the lower back and legs, but each person can experience different symptoms of pain. Arachnoiditis symptoms can become more severe or even permanent as the disease progresses. This can cause some to suffer significant disability, making them unable to work.

Symptoms of Arachnoiditis can include:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Severe shooting pain (similar to an electric shock sensation)
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Bladder, bowel, and sexual problems
  • Sensations that may feel like insects crawling on the skin, or water trickling down the leg

While arachnoiditis has no cure, there are ways to help relieve the pain. Physiotherapy can alleviate pain by preserving motor function, restoring mobility, and helping patients stay active. This includes mild exercises to help improve blood flow, massage, and hot or cold compresses to the affected areas. Pain management treatments can also assist in managing the pain of arachnoiditis.

If you been diagnosed with arachnoiditis, ask your physician to schedule a referral to ECPC Pain Specialists. At your appointment, our physicians can discuss symptoms and treatment options to help minimize pain.