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Arachnoiditis is chronic inflammation of the arachnoid
membranes that surround and protect the nerves of the
spinal cord. The arachnoid become inflamed because of
an irritation from chemicals, infection from bacteria or
viruses, direct injury to the spine, chronic compression of
spinal nerves, or complications from invasive spinal
procedures. Inflammation can sometimes lead to the
formation of adhesions, which cause the spinal nerves to
stick together. If arachnoiditis interferes with the function
of one or more of these nerves, it can cause a number of
symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and a
characteristic stinging and burning pain in the lower back.
Arachnoiditis has no consistent pattern of symptoms, but
it more frequently affects the supply to the lower back and
legs. There may be an immune response that is
suggestive of Chemically Induced Immune System
Arachnoiditis may be caused by:
• Myelographic dyes (oil-based- Pantopaque) • Epidural steroid injections (Depo Medrol) • Intraspinal drugs (anti-cancer drugs) • Subarachnoid hemorrhage Spinal stenosis
Symptoms are diverse and present as a syndrome.
• Neurogenic (central) pains that arises from mild stimulus such as body • Increased muscle tension with muscle spasms and spasticity • Pains in various locations on your body (lumbar, buttocks, legs, feet, perineum, hip, abdomen, arms, hands, neck, head, face, and chest) • Sensitivity to temperature variations • Easily fatigued (similar to PostPolio Syndrome) • Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (blood pressure, temperature, bladder, • Gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying)
• Investigation of choice is T2 weighted, fat suppressed, gadolinium enhanced, • MRI should be read by a neuroradiologist experienced with arachnoiditis
Neurogenic pain syndromes are best treated by a pain clinic that specializes in
arachnoiditis with a multidisciplinary approach. Chiropractic and nutritional support are
part of the multidisciplinary approach. Chiropractic and nutritional support go hand in
hand to aid the body in healing.
• Treatment is directed towards pain relief, decrease in symptoms, and • Prescription drugs (muscle relaxants, antidepressants, anesthetics, narcotics, • Herbs and nutritional supplements that crosses the blood brain barrier Many intra·spine treatments such as steroid injections and medication via pumps and
surgical intervention actually advance the arachnoiditis and is controversial as it
generally provides only short-term relief.
Arachnoiditis is insidious and incurable, but treatment decreases the symptoms and
improves the person’s quality of life. Arachnoiditis varies from mild and non-progressive
to a fulminating progression that may cause paralysis and even death. Progression after
the first 24 months may be unlikely, but the onset may be years after the precipitating
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