Arachnoiditis is a growing but Unfortunately Rarely Discussed Topic.
Today I would like to introduce you to what arachnoiditis is, how patients get it and what the possible solutions are.
As you probably know the brain and nervous system are bathed in fluid and surrounded by gentle membranes. These membranes help to protect and nourish the brain, spinal cord, and the beginnings of the nerve roots.
It is a very delicate and intricate system.
Everyone has heard of meningitis and you probably know that this is an inflammation of the meninges primarily surrounding the brain and possibly the neck, which causes headache, fever, significant illness and possibly death. It is caused by variety of bacteria and viruses primarily.
Now meningitis typically affects the brain, arachnoiditis affects the spinal cord primarily in the low back area. The most common causes of meningitis that we see in our society are those which result from surgery, invasive diagnostics, which in slang are referred to as “spinal taps”.
Our biggest concern is that there are a growing number of arachnoiditis cases and the fact that more, instead of less invasive procedures including spinal injections and surgeries are being formed.
Before we go any further let’s be clear.
As we say repeatedly here, good health care is always about risks versus benefits. So if you or a loved one needs an invasive spinal procedure to save your life or limb, so be it, it is the best use of medical care.
My concern is when these invasive procedures are done prior to or whenever possible instead of noninvasive procedures.
A prime example is treating chronic back pain using spinal injections as an almost first-line therapy, which has exploded in recent years. Too often, these injections are recommended and used before appropriate conservative and noninvasive therapy like chiropractic care, and other safe and inexpensive modalities like laser, TENS, and NDgen® etc.
When the linings of the spinal cord or the meninges are pierced or broken as with a needle, especially when drugs as well as the preservatives or possible contaminants they contain, arachnoiditis may be the end result. After surgery inflammation, and even allergic reactions to drugs or preservatives used in these drugs during surgery can also set the stage for scaring and adhesion of these tissues.
The net result can be effects which may vary from mild pain to brutal unrelenting pain combined with other signs of nerve damage including weakness and possibly paralysis.
Again my biggest concern is when spinal injections are performed instead of using procedures whenever possible.
We are NOT talking about life-saving procedures and cases in which there is no alternative to surgery or injections.
NEXT TIME WE’LL TALK MUCH MORE ABOUT THIS AND WHAT OPTIONS FOR TREATMENT MAY BE AVAILABLE.
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