Spine Conditions – Arachnoiditis

Arachnoiditis is a rare disorder, and its prevalence is not known. However, some studies have highlighted that around 25,000 cases of this spinal condition occur every year. In the U.S and Canada, the condition is more prevalent, and that’s why people undergo spinal operations to relieve pain.

What is Arachnoiditis?

Arachnoiditis is a spinal disorder characterized by inflammation and pain in the arachnoid, which is a membrane that surrounds the spinal nerves and protects them. Spinal pain disorder can cause severe burning, stinging, pain, and other neurological issues.

Research shows that there are no consistent symptoms of this spinal disorder. However, it affects the nerves that connect the lower back and legs. Some of the common symptoms include numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs.

You may also experience severe shooting pain, which is similar to the electric shock sensations. Other symptoms include bowel, bladder, and sexual problems, as well as uncontrollable twitching, spasms, and muscle cramps.

Symptoms often become severe with the progression of the disease. Many people with this spinal condition can’t work and may suffer from a disability. Again, this is due to severe pain.

What are the Causes of Arachnoiditis?

When your arachnoid membrane is affected due to inflammation, it forms scar tissue and leads the spinal nerves to stick together. As a result, the nerves can’t function properly. There are various reasons why the arachnoid membrane gets inflamed. For instance, it may be due to a direct injury to your spine.

Certain chemicals, such as dyes used in myelograms can also cause inflammation of the membrane. Myelograms are diagnostic tests in which the health personnel use radiographic contrast media in the area that surrounds the spinal cord and nerves.

Some infections caused by microbes, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungus, can also affect your spine and cause damage to the arachnoid membrane. Chronic compression of the spinal cord nerves can also lead to degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. Both conditions can eventually cause inflammation in the membrane.

Moreover, complications related to spinal surgeries, particularly open back surgery, are also held responsible for arachnoiditis. It is important to know that this spinal condition is rare, but it can cause severe pain in the back.

When it comes to stages of arachnoiditis, the condition usually develops in three stages. The first stage happens when the spinal nerves have inflammation, which causes the adjacent blood vessels to undergo distension. This leads to the disappearance of the subarachnoid space and the formation of scar tissue.

The second stage begins when the scar tissue increases, and the third stage is characterized by the complete encapsulation of the nerve roots. This is where compression leads to the atrophy of the nerve roots. As a result, the scar tissue does not allow the spine to produce fluid.

So, these are the stages of arachnoiditis that eventually cause inflammation in the membrane. Keep in mind that inflammation leads to severe pain, tingling, numbness, and spasms.

What are the Possible Treatments for Arachnoiditis?

Research studies have not highlighted any significant treatment or cure for this spinal condition. However, many studies have confirmed that treatment for this spinal condition is similar to those for other painful conditions.

When it comes to treating the stages of arachnoiditis, most treatment options available focus on improving symptoms, such as reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Your doctor will recommend a pain management program, psychotherapy, exercise, and physiotherapy.

A growing body of research evidence shows that open back surgery has poor clinical outcomes for Arachnoiditis. Moreover, steroid injections and medications may provide short-term relief, but they might not be effective for most patients.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

At the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas, our surgeons perform foraminoplasty to treat this spinal condition. Keep in mind that this type of treatment is best done by using the endoscopic minimally invasive spine technique. The procedure involves the surgeon to explore the full length of the nerve and determine the points that are causing inflammation and pain.

Compared to open back surgery, which fails to treat this spinal condition, the endoscopic lumbar decompression or foraminoplasty has higher success rates, which is above 85%. Furthermore, minimally invasive spine surgery, like foraminoplasty is performed under local anesthesia and the recovery period is around 3-4 months.

You have to follow the guidelines of your surgeon after the surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe you certain medications, exercises, and outpatient physical therapy sessions as parts of the rehabilitation process. Contact MINT today if you have arachnoiditis, and our surgeons will give you the best treatment option.