Arachnoiditis is a rare condition that occurs when the arachnoid membrane, one of the thin protective layers that surround the brain and spinal cord, becomes inflamed or irritated. This inflammation can lead to the formation of scar tissue that can attach to nearby nerve roots, causing chronic pain and neurological symptoms.
The symptoms of arachnoiditis can vary widely depending on the location and severity of the inflammation. Common symptoms include chronic pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs, as well as bladder and bowel dysfunction. In some cases, arachnoiditis can also cause headaches, vision problems, and hearing loss.
Arachnoiditis can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Infection: Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane can occur as a result of an infection, such as meningitis or tuberculosis.
Chemical irritation: The use of certain medications, such as epidural steroid injections, or exposure to chemicals or toxins can cause inflammation and scarring of the arachnoid membrane.
Trauma: Spinal cord injury, surgery, or other types of trauma can cause inflammation and scarring of the arachnoid membrane.
Chronic compression: Long-term compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots can lead to inflammation and scarring of the arachnoid membrane.
Treatment for arachnoiditis is aimed at managing symptoms and improving quality of life. This may include pain management techniques, such as medication or nerve blocks, physical therapy to improve mobility and strength, and counseling to address the emotional and psychological impact of living with a chronic condition. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue or relieve pressure on nerve roots.