DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Transverse myelitis is inflammation of the spinal cord, which often targets insulating material covering nerve cell fibers (myelin). Transverse myelitis may result in injury across the spinal cord, causing diminished or absent sensation below the injury.
The disrupted transmission of nerve signals due to transverse myelitis can cause pain or other sensory problems, weakness or paralysis of muscles, or bladder and bowel dysfunction.
Several factors can cause transverse myelitis, including infections not directly affecting the spine and immune system disorders attacking the body's own tissues. It may also occur as an episode of other myelin disorders, such as multiple sclerosis.
Treatment for transverse myelitis includes anti-inflammatory drugs, medications to manage symptoms and rehabilitative therapy. Most people with transverse myelitis experience at least partial recovery.
- Transverse myelitis fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/transversemyelitis/detail_transversemyelitis.htm. Accessed Oct. 24, 2010.
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- Weinshenker BG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 3, 2010.