Transverse myelitis – what to look for
Transverse myelitis is an inflammation of both sides of one section of the spinal cord. This neurological disorder often damages the insulating material covering nerve cell fibres (myelin).
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of transverse myelitis usually develop over a few hours to a few days and may sometimes progress gradually over several weeks.
“Transverse myelitis usually affects both sides of the body below the affected area of the spinal cord, but sometimes there are symptoms on just one side of the body,” explains the health body.
Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Pain. Transverse myelitis pain may begin suddenly in your lower back. Sharp pain may shoot down your legs or arms or around your chest or abdomen. Pain symptoms vary based on the part of your spinal cord that’s affected
- Abnormal sensations. Some people with transverse myelitis report sensations of numbness, tingling, coldness or burning. Some are especially sensitive to the light touch of clothing or to extreme heat or cold. You may feel as if something is tightly wrapping the skin of your chest, abdomen or legs
- Weakness in your arms or legs. Some people notice heaviness in the legs, or that they’re stumbling or dragging one foot. Others may develop severe weakness or even total paralysis.
- Bladder and bowel problems. This may include needing to urinate more frequently, urinary incontinence, difficulty urinating and constipation.