What's transverse myelitis?
Transverse myelitis (TM) is an uncommon neurological syndrome caused by inflammation (a protective response which includes swelling, pain, heat, and redness) of the spinal cord, characterized by weakness, back pain, and bowel and
bladder problems. It affects one to five persons per million.
Transverse myelitis (TM) is a neurological condition characterized by an inflammation of the spinal cord. This results in nerve impulses becoming totally blocked at various points. The severity of TM depends upon the severity and extent of the inflammation and at what level the spinal cord is affected. In general, the higher up it is affected, the more severe the impairment. Therefore, inflammation near the neck area of the spinal cord is more severe than inflammation further down the spinal column.
Transverse myelitis can cause low back pain, spinal cord dysfunction, muscle spasms, a general feeling of discomfort, headache, loss of appetite, and numbness or tingling in the legs. TM affects the entire thickness of the spinal cord, producing both sensory and movement problems. It is believed to be linked to the immune system, which may be prompted to attack the body's own spinal cord. Striking rapidly without warning, its effects can be devastating. Almost all patients develop leg weakness. The arms are involved in a minority of cases. (This depends upon the level of spinal cord involvement.) Sensation, pain and temperature sensation are typically diminished below the level of spinal cord involvement. Appreciation of vibration and joint position sense may also be decreased. Bladder and bowel sphincter control is disturbed in the majority of cases. Many patients with transverse myelitis report a tight banding or girdle-like sensation around the trunk and that area may be very sensitive to touch.
More information on transverse myelitis
What's transverse myelitis? - Transverse myelitis (TM) is an uncommon neurological syndrome caused by inflammation of the spinal cord, characterized by weakness, back pain, and bowel and bladder problems.
What's acute transverse myelitis? - Acute transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cells fibers.
What causes transverse myelitis? - Transverse myelitis may be caused by viral infections, spinal cord injuries, immune disorders or insufficient blood flow through the blood vessels in the spinal cord.
What're the symptoms of transverse myelitis? - Transverse myelitis can cause low back pain, spinal cord dysfunction, muscle spasms, headache, loss of appetite, and numbness or tingling in the legs.
How is transverse myelitis diagnosed? - A doctor will suspect transverse myelitis in any patient with a rapid onset of paralysis. Blood tests may be performed.
What's the treatment for transverse myelitis? - There is no specific treatment for transverse myelitis. The standard treatment is with high doses of corticosteroids. Another promising therapy is plasma exchange.