Information for Affected People
Health Complaints and Symptoms
The health complaints and symptoms of affected people are very divers and are often identical to symptoms which are caused by entirely different diseases. Pain in the lower back to the tail bone and gluteal area and extending into the legs and impairments in feeling and temperature sensations, discomfort and tingling in all areas of the lower abdomen, the back, the legs and into the feet.
The health complaints and symptoms are thus not specific to arachnoiditis and Tarlov cyst patients but are as well caused by degenerative spinal diseases. Spinal cord narrowing, herniated discs, slipped vertebrae, tumors and inflammation of the spinal cord, which affect many people, cause the same symptoms and complaints. But it is the pressure and irritation on the nerve structures which cause the pain and not the nerve structures themselves as is the case with Arachnoiditis and their consequences, the Tarlov cysts.
If the same symptoms are caused by different disease factors, it is the obligation of the medical practitioners to define their cause and herein lies the challenge. Arachnoiditis is a rare condition. The other causes, specifically the degenerative diseases of the spinal canal, are highly common. These diseases are considered the common diseases of the civilized world.
One of the key statements in the medical community is: “common diseases are common and rare diseases are rare”. That sounds logical but carries the risk that the diagnosis of rare diseases is hampered by the concentration of the community onto common diseases.
However, arachnoiditis and its consequences is existing even if little considered. The art of medicine is to take them into account.
An additional deterrent is to prove the presence of arachnoiditis, even if it is taken into consideration. The reason is the anatomical peculiarity of the affected structures. They are extremely fine structures and are not easily identified through MRI technology. Only in the advanced stages of the disease of the leptomeninges can it be identified with the additional of a contrast agent.