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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Clumping of nerve roots / always arachnoiditis?

 cgn - Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:01 pm

45 yo female with history of cellular schwannoma removed from l2/3 (laminectomy) in 1993. Really no problems since. 7 months ago started having a slight "grabbing" /numb feel in left calf upon waking ... no pain. MRI states among other things ... suspected clumping together of nerve roots in the central canal at L2-3, L3-4, and L4-5, suspicious for arachnoiditis. Additionally - I have a 3mm posterior disc bulge at L4-5 with mild central canal stenosis.

Of course - reading about "arachnoidistis" has gotten me very concerned ... does nerve root clumping mean that I have or will have this condition? Currently, I have no pain and the numbness resolves pretty much during the day.

Has anyone experienced anything similar ???? Any suggestions ???
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:25 pm

User avatar Hi there --

While there is a good chance this clumping is due to arachnoiditis it could also be congenital and with time and wear in the thoracic vertebrae it might become symptomatic later on, in keeping with the presentation you've experienced. Either way it poses a difficult problem as far as treatment is concerned, but arachnoiditis isn't necessarily a terrible condition (although it does have the potential to be awfully limiting and painful). As research progresses, however, I think a lot of people burdened with this or similar conditions, should be much nearer a workable technology for repair of these clumps.

The fact that you have no pain and the numbing resolves suggests this may be something other than arachnoiditis, although it may be "suspicious" for it in the eyes of the radiologist, who of course has to write down what is definite and what is possible. If this is arachnoiditis it doesn't automatically mean a progressive loss of mobility, although this is possible. Followup studies are going to be necessary to determine just what is going on, but clumping of nerve roots is a difficult problem to correct regardless of the cause. Difficult, not impossible.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please follow up with us here as needed and by all means keep us updated. Good luck to you.

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