Transverse Myelitis

What are the symptoms?

There is tremendous variability in the presentation of symptoms, which are based on the level of the spinal cord affected and on the severity of the damage to the myelin and the neurones in the spinal cord.

The symptoms of Transverse Myelitis (TM) include muscle weakness, paralysis, parasthesias or un-comfortable nerve sensations, neuropathic pain, spasticity, fatigue, depression and bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction.

The main symptoms of transverse myelitis are muscle weakness in the legs (and, less commonly, in the arms), change in sensation (unusual feelings) in the lower half of the body, pain, and problems with the bowel and bladder. People might also experience fever, headache, tiredness, muscle spasms (spasticity), and a general feeling of being unwell.

Commonly, the very first symptoms people with transverse myelitis experience are pain in their lower back and a sudden change in sensation in the legs (unusual feelings such as burning or tingling). These unusual sensations are called paraesthesia.

The unusual feelings (paraesthesia) that people experience can include numbness, pins and needles, and a heightened sensitivity to touch and temperature. The feel of clothing on the skin might cause pain (allodynia). People might experience extreme heat or cold, or lose the ability to tell the temperature of water or objects. Sometimes, a horizontal line or band can be felt around the torso (the trunk of the body) or around the waist where the unusual sensations begin.

Bowel and bladder problems might include incontinence (a loss of control over bowel movements or passing urine) or needing to go to the toilet with increased urgency.

Muscle weakness in the legs can progress to a complete loss of movement (paralysis) very quickly.

At TherapyMatters we work with people who have Transverse Myelitis and we help them to develop the strength and the function that their condition will allow them to achieve - as well as to manage the functional problems that they have in their day to day lives. People with TM can present with balance and strength issues, effecting their standing, walking, and stability, as well as their endurance and stamina. We are a skilled team of neurological physiotherapists and occupational therapists and we will be able to assess you and work with you through a rehabilitation programme to help you reach your best potential functional activity and to then try and maintain it for as well and as long as you can. Please phone us if you want to discuss this or have any questions to ask - we are happy to chat and we are sure that we would be able to help you with your rehabilitation.