Technically lupus myelitis is transverse myelitis that is caused by lupus. This is one of the disorders that I came down with, so I thought I’d share a little bit more.
Transverse myelitis is a disorder of the nervous system linked to inflammation of the spinal cord. It is very rare, affecting approximately 1% of patients with lupus.
Initial symptoms usually include localized lower back pain, sudden paresthesias (abnormal sensations such as burning, tickling, pricking, or tingling) in the legs, sensory loss, and paraparesis (partial paralysis of the legs). Paraparesis may progress to paraplegia (paralysis of the legs and lower part of the trunk). Urinary bladder and bowel dysfunction is common. Many patients also report experiencing muscle spasms, a general feeling of discomfort, headache, fever, and loss of appetite.
As with many disorders of the spinal cord, no effective cure currently exists for people with transverse myelitis. Treatments are designed to reduce spinal cord inflammation and manage and alleviate symptoms.. Physicians often prescribe anti-inflammatory corticosteroid therapy soon after the diagnosis is made in order to decrease inflammation and hopefully improve the chances and speed of neurological recovery.
Commonly experienced permanent neurological deficits resulting from transverse myelitis include severe weakness, spasticity (painful muscle stiffness or contractions), or paralysis; incontinence; and chronic pain. Such deficits can substantially interfere with a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and performing household tasks.
Recovery from transverse myelitis usually begins within 2 to 12 weeks of the onset of symptoms and may continue for up to 2 years (and in some cases longer). However, if there is no improvement within the first 3 to 6 months, complete recovery is unlikely (although incomplete recovery can still occur, which underlines the significant need for aggressive physical therapy and rehabilitation).
Transverse myelitis that is related to lupus may relapse once treated, so you should work with your doctor to track and manage any symptoms you may have.