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Functional Medicine Explained

Transverse Myelitis Rare Spinal Cord Disorder Possible Cause Covid-19

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Covid-19 has impacted everyone in so many ways. There is a possible connection between Covid-19 and a rare spinal disorder known as transverse myelitis. There have been three known cases of acute transverse myelitis brought on from covid-19. Although these case reports are not enough to prove that covid is the cause for transverse myelitis, researchers are delving into the possibility of a connection between the virus and this spinal condition.

Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis causes inflammation of the spinal cord. It can be caused by
  • Infections
  • Immune system disorders
  • Disorders that damage/destroy myelin
Myelin is the layer that forms around nerve cell axons or the wiring of the nervous system and insulates them. It consists of protein, fatty substances, and acts as a defensive sheath that allows electrical impulses to transmit properly. The insulation properties are essential for:
  • Proper motor function
  • Sensory function
  • Cognition
Without the insulation, the electrical impulses traveling through the spinal cord dissipate or weaken. The messages don’t reach the nerves and can lead to:
  • Muscle spasms
  • Twitching
  • Numbness
The most common disorder that destroys the myelin known as demyelination is multiple sclerosis. Transverse myelitis can affect individuals of:
  • Any race
  • Gender
  • Age
There are treatments, but there is no cure. Treatments consist of corticosteroids and other therapies to suppress the immune system. However, their focus is on preventing and minimizing permanent neurological damage.

Recognizing and Identifying

Symptoms of transverse myelitis can include:
  • Pain that usually starts in the lower back and causes shooting pain/sensations down the legs, arm, and torso
  • Leg/s and arm/s weakness
  • Sensory changes in the legs, torso, and genital area
  • Bladder and Bowel dysfunction
  • Muscle spasms
  • General discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
Depending on the segment of the spine where the damage is occurring will determine which parts of the body are affected. Diagnosis begins with a thorough medical evaluation. A doctor will utilize various methods. A thorough neurological exam will be performed to rule out any issues that require emergency intervention. If a doctor suspects transverse myelitis they will order diagnostic tests like:
  • Magnetic resonance imaging or an MRI
  • Blood tests
  • Lumbar puncture

Treatment

As previously stated, there is no cure for transverse myelitis, and treatment focuses on managing complications. Treatments can include:
  • Pain medication
  • Antiviral medications
  • Intravenous corticosteroids
  • Immunomodulating agents
  • Plasma exchange therapy
  • Intravenous immunoglobin treatment
The hard facts are that while most people with transverse myelitis have at least a partial recovery, for some, however, recovery can continue for up to two years and longer. A combination of medications, chiropractic, and physical therapy can help improve physical symptoms. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is working to understand the process, as to how the immune system destroys or attacks myelin. Hopefully, this will lead to answers, improved treatment, and prevention. It is well-documented that Multiple sclerosis, bacterial infections, and other viruses can cause transverse myelitis, research must continue to see if there is a connection to covid-19.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Blog Post Disclaimer

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
References
Chakraborty, Uddalak et al. “COVID-19-associated acute transverse myelitis: a rare entity.” BMJ case reports vol. 13,8 e238668. 25 Aug. 2020, doi:10.1136/bcr-2020-238668
Dr. Alex Jimenez

Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal mobility, posture control, health Instruction, functional fitness, and structural conditioning. We use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans", Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems. Ultimately, I am here to serve my patients and community as a Chiropractor passionately restoring functional life and facilitating living through increased mobility.

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