Arachnoiditis
  

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What is Arachnoiditis?
Is there any treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What research is being done?

Organizations

What is Arachnoiditis?
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. The arachnoid can become inflamed because of an irritation from chemicals, infection from bacteria or viruses, as the result of direct injury to the spine, chronic compression of spinal nerves, or complications from spinal surgery or other invasive spinal procedures. Inflammation can sometimes lead to the formation of scar tissue and adhesions, which cause the spinal nerves to "stick" together. If arachnoiditis begins to interfere with the function of one or more of these nerves, it can cause a number of symptoms, including numbness, tingling, and a characteristic stinging and burning pain in the lower back or legs. Arachnoiditis has no consistent pattern of symptoms, but it more frequently affects the nerves that supply the lower back and legs.

Is there any treatment?
Arachnoiditis remains a difficult condition to treat, and long-term outcomes are unpredictable. Most treatments for arachnoiditis are focused on pain relief and the improvement of symptoms that impair daily function. A regimen of pain management, physiotheraphy, exercise, and psychotheraphy is often recommended. Surgical intervention is controversial since the outcomes are generally poor and provide only short-term relief. Clinical trials of steroid injections and electrical stimulation are needed to determine the efficacy of these treatments.

What is the prognosis?
Arachnoiditis appears to be a chronic pain disorder that is not progressive, but does not improve significantly with treatment. Prognosis is often complicated by the lack of a clear relationship between time of onset and pattern of symptoms. Aging and pre-existing spinal disorders can make accurate prognosis problematic. For many, arachnoiditis is a disabling disease that causes chronic pain and neurological deficits.

What research is being done?
Within the NINDS research programs, arachnoiditis is addressed primarily through studies associated with pain research. The NINDS vigorously pursues a research program seeking new treatments for pain and nerve damage with the ultimate goal of reversing debilitating conditions such as arachnoiditis.

 

 

Select this link to view a list of studies currently seeking patients.
 

 

 Organizations

 

American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)
P.O. Box 850
Rocklin, CA 95677-0850
ACPA@pacbell.net
http://www.theacpa.org
Tel: 916-632-0922 800-533-3231
Fax: 916-632-3208

 

 

National Chronic Pain Outreach Association (NCPOA)
P.O. Box 274
Millboro, VA 24460
ncpoa@cfw.com
http://www.chronicpain.org
Tel: 540-862-9437
Fax: 540-862-9485

 

 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 31, Rm. 4C05
Bethesda, MD 20892-2350
NIAMSInfo@mail.nih.gov
http://www.nih.gov/niams
Tel: 301-496-8188 877-22-NIAMS (226-4267)
 

 

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institutes of Health
Bldg. 45, Rm. 4AS19
Bethesda, MD 20892-6400
nidrinfo@od31.nidr.nih.gov
http://www.nidr.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-4261
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

 


 

 

Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

 

 

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