Other Names:
Meningitis serosa circumscripta spinalis
Adhesive spinal arachnoiditis
Chronic spinal meningitis
Meningitis serosa spinalis
Spinal meningitides
Chronic adhesive arachnoiditis
Arachnoiditis is an inflammatory response of the arachnoid, one of three coverings, or meninges, that envelop the brain and spinal cord. It may result from infection, including syphilis and tubercular meningitis, or trauma (including that resulting from surgery, lumbar puncture, and spinal anesthesia). A diagnostic procedure, called a myelogram, which is performed in patients prior to spinal surgery may cause numbness, tingling, and a characteristic stinging and burning pain.

Arachnoiditis is a disorder which causes severe, chronic, intractable pain. It is the inflammation of one of the spinal cord coverings, the middle covering, the arachnoid, that causes arachnoiditis. This inflammation causes the covering to become "sticky", adhering it to the spinal cord and the nerve roots as they exit the spinal cord. This inflammation and adhesion are what cause the pain. Arachnoiditis can be progressive in some cases. It can also cause loss of motor function, numbness, tingling, loss of bladder and bowel function, the sensation of walking on rocks or glass, groin pain and can, in some rare instances, cause paralysis. There is NO CURE and NO TREATMENT, except pain management.

Medical research has established a link between the myelographic dyes used in xrays and CT scans and arachnoiditis. Arachnoiditis is difficult to diagnose. Many people have been misdiagnosed as having 'failed back syndrome', 'scar tissue', 'adhesions', and 'post-laminectomy syndrome', when in fact they may have arachnoiditis. Most doctors do not know what they are seeing in myelograms and xrays when they look at arachnoiditis. And, many doctors have not even heard of arachnoiditis.

Arachnoiditis can be worsened by injection of ANY chemical, medication, dye or other foreign substance into your spine. Your own blood is one of the worst irritants which can, at times, invade your spinal fluid from any procedure which uses a "spinal tap" approach or surgery. Even anesthetics such as used in epidurals have been known to cause and/or worsen arachnoiditis. Spinal surgery and trauma may also cause and/or worsen this disorder. Basically, anyone with arachnoiditis should avoid any invasive procedure.

Arachnoiditis is an inflammatory process involving the arachnoid lining of the thecal sac and the Cauda Equina nerve roots, producing severe, incapacitating pain and neurological disability.

It can affect various places in the body, such as in the head, at the junction between the head and neck and all over the spine (cranial, servico-medullary, thoracic, lumbosacral). Arachnoiditis sufferers have often been considered to have functional disorders; disappointed by this lack of recognition from the medical profession, they have formed self-help groups around the world. They have shown that arachnoiditis is a major world-wide public health problem. It leads to chronic disability, long term drug/alcohol dependence and suicidal tendencies. The average life span is shortened by 12 years., (Guyer,1989), and there is no known cure. Arachnoiditis thus, remains a therapeutic challenge for the medical profession.

Arachnoiditis is difficult to diagnose and treat; treatment procedures are controversial. It has been blamed for many different types of pain, notably burning and bursting pains, but actually little is known about it.

Prof Hoffman (1983), has stated that the conventional spectrum of arachnoiditis is probably only the 'tip of the iceberg'. Prof Jayson (1990), stated that many patients with lumbar spondylosis may have degrees of arachnoiditis and peridural fibrosis that are of clinical significance yet unrecognised by conventional examination. The frequency, prevalence and prognosis of Contrast media induced arachnoiditis are only now becoming known, and its magnitude is greater than previously thought. Dr Burton (1994), has suggested that worldwide, a figure close to a million cases over the past 50 years is possible.

Research in the United States on myelography related arachnoiditis, led to disclosures that resulted in a dramatic introduction of legislation in the 1994 U.S. Congress to monitor all myelography. (H.R.2079.

The Arachnoiditis Trust is compiling data by way of questionnaires into the short term and long term effects of the following investigative procedures. Myelograms - Radiculograms - discograms< Intrathecal or epidural steroid injections given for pain relief..

Epidural Anaesthesia for childbirth.

Epidural anaesthesia given for unrelated surgery (i.e. prostrate, hip replacement ect).

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST