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Transverse Myelitis (TM)


Transverse myelitis is a neurologic syndrome caused by inflammation of gray and white matter of the spinal cord. It is part of a spectrum of neuroimmunologic diseases of the central nervous system. Attacks of inflammation can damage myelin and the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars which disturb the communications between the nerves of the spinal cord and the rest of the body cell.

Acute transverse myelitis is causes due to multiple sclerosis but occurs along with vasculitis, mycoplasmal infections, Lyme disease, syphilis, TB, IV heroin, antiparasitic and antifungal drugs. Transverse myelitis causes to the both adults and children also in both gender.

Causes of Transverse Myelitis

Researchers are confident about the exact causes of transverse myelitis.

  • Transverse myelitis may be caused by viral infections such as Herpes simplex viruses, Varicella.Zoster.
  • The main cause of TM is spinal cord injuries.
  • TM can develop due to attack of multiple sclerosis involving the first MS attack.
  • Transverse myelitis develops in people who have other autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Sjogren's syndrome.
  • In some case of transverse myelitis develop from spinal arteriovenous malformations or vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis which causes to ischemia.and a reduction in normal levels of oxygen in spinal cord tissues.
  • TM occurs due to a complication of many disorders such as optic neuromyelitis, multiple sclerosis, smallpox, and measles and chickenpox or rabies vaccinations.

Symptoms of Transverse Myelitis

The symptoms depends on the location of the inflammation. Inflammation in the neck produces symptoms from the neck down. .

  • Lower back pain is the primary symptom.
  • Muscle weakness in arms and legs
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosis of Transverse Myelitis

  • The diagnosis of the transverse myelitis can be done with the help of patient history.
  • With the help of blood tests various disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus, HIV infection, and vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • MRI and CSF examination test used for diagnosis of TM.

Treatment of Transverse Myelitis

Different therapies are perform to cure the sign and symptoms of transverse myelitis. These are as follows -

  • Intravenous steroids Therapy - This therapy allow to receive steroids through a vein in your arm over the course of several days. Steroids help reduce the inflammation in your spinal column.
  • Plasma exchange therapy - The people who don't give any response to intravenous steroids therapy they undergo in this therapy. This therapy involves removing the straw colored fluid in which blood cells are suspended and replacing the plasma loss with special fluids. So it reduce the inflammation.
  • Pain medication - It is is a common complication of transverse myelitis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
  • Physical therapy. The aim of physical therapy is to help patients increase their strength and endurance, recover coordination, reduce spasticity and muscle wasting in paralyzed limbs, and regain greater control over bladder and bowel function with the help of various exercises.
  • Occupational Therapy - Occupational therapy help patients to  learn new ways of performing significant, self-directed, goal slanting, everyday work such as bathing, dressing, preparing a food, house clean-up, busy  in arts and crafts, or gardening.

Prevention of Transverse Myelitis

To prevent TM self care is necessary. By taking self care you can develop your lifestyle.

  • You can prevent bowl problem by taking fiber in your diet by eating fiber-rich foods.
  • You can prevent TM by keeping strong bones by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements and engaging in weight-bearing exercise.

What is the prognosis of Transverse Myelitis?

The prognosis depends on how much amount of the cord was damaged. Prognosis for complete recovery is very less. If there is no development within the first 3 to 6 months then significant recovery is necessary. It require two year for recovery. Most Persons are left with considerable disability. Some patients experience complete or near complete recovery. A percentage of patients with TM will go on to develop multiple sclerosis.