Transverse Myelitis is a demyelinating (loss of the fatty tissue around the nerves) disorder of the spinal cord. It may occur alone or in combination with demyelination in other parts of the nervous system.
Onset of the disorder is sudden symptoms may include low back pain, spinal cord dysfunction, muscle spasms, a general feeling of discomfort, headache, loss of appetite, and numbness or tingling in the legs. Transverse myelitis may be caused by viral infections, spinal cord injuries, immune reactions, or insufficient blood flow through the vessels in the spinal cord. It may also occur as a complication of such disorders as optic neuromyelitis, multiple sclerosis, smallpox, and measles, or as a complication of chickenpox vaccinations.
There is no specific treatment for transverse myelitis. Treatment for the disorder is symptomatic.
Generally, prognosis for complete recovery from transverse myelitis is not good. Although recovery usually begins between 2 and 12 weeks after onset and may continue for up to 2 years, most individuals are left with considerable disability. Some individuals may have minor or no deficits, while others may have significant motor, sensory, and sphincter (bowel) deficits. Some individuals show no recovery at all.