Transverse myelitis

TM; Acute transverse myelitis; Secondary transverse myelitis; Idiopathic transverse myelitis

Transverse myelitis is a condition caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. As a result, the covering (myelin sheath) around the nerve cells is damaged. This disturbs the signals between spinal nerves and rest of the body.

Transverse myelitis can cause pain, muscle weakness, paralysis, and bladder or bowel problems.

Myelin and nerve structure

Myelin is the layer that forms around nerve cells. Its purpose is to speed the transmission of impulses along nerve cells.

Vertebra and spinal nerves

The spinal cord and its peripheral nerves are protected by the vertebral column, a stack of bones which surround and provide support. Between the vertebrae is a fluid-filled disk.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and tests

Treatment

Support Groups

Outlook (prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional