The Cleveland Clinic

Pain Management: Arachnoiditis

Arachnoiditis is a pain disorder caused by the inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membranes that surround and protect the nerves of the spinal cord. It is characterized by severe stinging, "burning pain", and neurological problems.

Symptoms



Arachnoiditis has no consistent pattern of symptoms, but in many people it affects the nerves connecting to the lower back and legs. The most common symptom is pain; but, arachnoiditis can also cause:

  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs
  • Sensations that may feel like insects crawling on the skin or water trickling down the leg
  • Severe shooting pain that can be similar to an electric shock sensation
  • Muscle cramps, spasms and uncontrollable twitching
  • Bladder, bowel and/or sexual dysfunction

As the disease progresses, symptoms may become more severe or even permanent. Many people with arachnoiditis are unable to work and suffer significant disability because they are in constant pain.

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