Arachnoiditis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 2/7/2019

Arachnoiditis is a pain disorder related to the inflammation of the arachnoid. The arachnoid is one of the membranes that surrounds and protects the spinal cord. A number of different conditions can cause the inflammation of arachnoiditis, including traumatic injury to the spine, infections like bacterial or viral meningitis, and long-term pressure on spinal nerves as occurs with disc disease.

Symptoms of arachnoiditis occur most commonly in the legs. They can include pain, a burning or tingling feeling in the legs, severe shooting pains, a sensation that feels like insects crawling on the skin, and problems with bladder or bowel function. Other associated signs and symptoms can include problems with sexual function, uncontrollable twitching, and the inability to work or perform normal tasks.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/7/2019

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