Arachnoiditis describes a pain disorder caused by the inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membranes that surround and protect the nerves of the spinal cord.
Inflammation of the arachnoid can lead to the formation of scar tissue and can cause the spinal nerves to stick together and malfunction. The arachnoid can become inflamed because of an irritation from one of the following sources:
Complications from spinal surgery or other invasive spinal procedures: Similar causes include multiple lumbar (lower back) punctures.
There is no cure for arachnoiditis. Treatment options for arachnoiditis are similar to those for other chronic pain conditions. Most treatments focus on relieving pain and improving symptoms that impair daily activities. Often, health care professionals recommend a program of pain management, physiotherapy, exercise, and psychotherapy.
Surgery for arachnoiditis is controversial because outcomes can be poor and provide only short-term relief. Clinical trials of steroid injections and electrical stimulation are needed to determine whether those treatments are effective.
Arachnoiditis is a disorder that causes chronic pain and neurological deficits and does not improve significantly with treatment. Surgery may only provide temporary relief. The outlook for someone with arachnoiditis is complicated by the fact that the disorder has no predictable pattern or severity of symptoms.
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