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How is Arachnoiditis Treated?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 25, 2024
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Arachnoiditis is a condition that is both painful and debilitating. The disorder is caused by the inflammation of the arachnoid, a lining that surrounds the nerves of the spinal cord. Individuals with arachnoiditis suffer from chronic pain, as a result of scar tissue, irritation, and nerve binding. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the condition and arachnoiditis treatment isn’t simple. Doctors must focus on treating the painful and debilitating effects of arachnoiditis, rather than attempting to fix the condition itself.

Arachnoiditis treatment includes the use of pain medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids are frequently used in treating arachnoiditis. Narcotic pain relievers, anti-spasm medications, and anti-convulsion drugs may be used in arachnoiditis treatment. Some of these medications are consumed orally while others are given using an intrathecal pump. This pump is implanted under a patient’s skin, allowing doctors to administer pain relief medication directly to the spinal cord.

Therapy may also be used as part of arachnoiditis treatment. Therapeutic treatments may include massage and hydrotherapy. Also, hot and cold therapeutic methods may be used in treating the pain caused by arachnoiditis. It is important to realize, however, that therapy may not provide long-term pain relief. Patients typically require other forms of arachnoiditis treatment in conjunction with therapy.

For some patients, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a typically painless process, may be helpful as an arachnoiditis treatment. TENS involves the sending an electrical current through nerves in the body. The electrical current is passed through electrodes that are placed on the skin of the patient. TENS is used to generate heat, relieving pain and improving mobility. In some cases, stimulators are used to send electric signals to the spinal cord, providing effective pain relief.

Surgical arachnoiditis treatment is usually avoided. Though surgery may be helpful for treating some spinal disorders, the opposite is often true of arachnoiditis. Surgery leads to more scar tissue for arachnoiditis patients, exposing their already damaged spinal cords to further irritation. Patients who do undergo surgical arachnoiditis treatment usually continue to have chronic pain. If pain relief is realized through surgery, it is generally temporary.

Arachnoiditis treatment is frequently focused on not just pain relief, but also on preserving the patient’s quality of life. Chronic pain wears on the mind as well as the body, causing mental and stress. Doctors often recommend that arachnoiditis patients join support groups to find help in handling the mental stress of living with condition. There are many support groups designed to meet the needs for those dealing with painful conditions, as well as some groups that cater solely to arachnoiditis patients. Some patients may benefit from individual therapy as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Discussion Comments
By anon128821 — On Nov 21, 2010

thank you for the info. I've been told i have fie cysts but now they are trying to tell me they are gone because they go away after awhile. Meanwhile, I'm getting weaker and losing feeling all over my body. I have muscle spasms from my groin to my feet. I drop almost everything.

By anon116981 — On Oct 08, 2010

thanks for the information. until i read your info i was thinking nothing could be done. now i have hope.

By anon114008 — On Sep 27, 2010

thank you for this information. It will help me to help my sister who has been suffering from this disease.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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