Adhesive arachnoiditis is a rare, chronic inflammatory condition that affects the arachnoid membrane, a thin, web-like layer that covers the brain and spinal cord. In adhesive arachnoiditis, the arachnoid membrane becomes inflamed and thickened, and scar tissue may form, which can lead to the adhesion or sticking together of the arachnoid membrane and other tissues.
The exact cause of adhesive arachnoiditis is unknown, but it can be caused by a number of factors, including infections, trauma, surgery, and exposure to certain medications or chemicals. The condition can cause a wide range of symptoms, including chronic pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and difficulty walking.
Diagnosis of adhesive arachnoiditis typically involves a thorough medical history and physical examination, as well as imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Treatment options for adhesive arachnoiditis are limited, and focus on managing symptoms and preventing further damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, and nerve pain medications may be prescribed to help manage pain. Physical therapy may also be recommended to help maintain mobility and function. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue or relieve pressure on the affected nerves or spinal cord.