Transverse Myelitis Overview, Causes and Symptoms



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 fibers (myelin). Transverse myelitis interrupts the messages that the spinal cord nerves send throughout the body. This can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, sensory problems, or bladder and bowel dysfunction. Several factors can cause transverse myelitis, including infections and immune system disorders that attack the body’s tissues. It could also be caused by other myelin disorders, such as multiple sclerosis. Treatment for transverse myelitis includes medications and rehabilitative therapy. Most people with transverse myelitis recover at least partially. Those with severe attacks sometimes are left with major disabilities. Call your doctor or get emergency medical care if you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of transverse myelitis. A number of neurological disorders can cause sensory problems, weakness, and bladder or bowel dysfunction including compression of the spinal cord, which is a surgical emergency. Another less common cause is a stroke of the spinal cord due to impaired blood circulation. This can be caused by injury, surgery of the aorta or increased blood clotting tendency. It’s important to get a prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.