Myelitis: Symptoms and Treatment

Myelitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the spinal cord. Immunity begins to actively develop antibodies under the influence of certain damaging factors. They are combined with foreign agents so that the active cells of the human immune system can destroy them.

Because of this struggle, the leukocytes themselves begin to die. Isolate certain substances that penetrate into the tissues of the body and begin to destroy its cells. As a consequence, the gray and white matter of the spinal cord is affected.

Such a state is extremely dangerous, as it can cause irreparable harm to health, as well as lead to the progression of dangerous complications. This disease affects people from different age categories. Restrictions on sex do not have a disability.


In medicine, clinicians use several classifications of myelitis, which are based on the mechanism of development of pathology, prevalence, the causes of progression of the pathological process, as well as the duration of the disease.

By duration of percolation:

  • acute myelitis. The onset of the disease is stormy. Symptoms are very vivid. Such a disease proceeds most severely and many complications may develop on its background;
  • subacute type. Symptoms begin to show themselves gradually. But it is worth noting that the nature of this pathology is progressive. This suggests that gradually the clinical picture will only worsen;
  • Chronic type. As a rule, the disease affects people in old age, but it can also develop in young people due to autoimmune disorders.

By prevalence:

  1. Limited. Only one pathological site is located in the spinal cord
  2. diffuse. Inflammation spans the entire spinal cord
  3. multi-focal. Several foci (more than two) are located in certain parts of the organ
  4. transverse myelitis. The development of this form is indicated if the inflammatory process affects simultaneously several segments located next to each other.

On the development mechanism:

  • primary myelitis. The ailment develops independently (under the influence of unfavorable factors)
  • secondary myelitis. The cause of the progression of this type of pathology are background diseases, which already develop in the human body. As a rule, these are processes with a chronic course.

Due to development:

  1. beam;
  2. Bacterial;
  3. post vaccination;
  4. Viral
  5. traumatic;
  6. idiopathic;
  7. toxic.


To provoke the progression of myelitis can a lot of unfavorable factors:

  • traumatic myelitis. In this case, myelitis progression is caused by spine trauma, which can cause viral or bacterial agents to enter the spinal cord;
  • viral. Infection of the body with viruses of poliomyelitis, herpes and measles may lead to the onset of the inflammatory process
  • post vaccination. Begins to develop in people who have recently been vaccinated and prone to developing allergic reactions
  • Bacterial. Often this type of spinal cord injury begins to develop against the background of meningitis. Infectious agent — meningococcus. Less often — a tubercle bacillus or pale treponema
  • toxic. The disease progresses after poisoning the body with certain toxic substances. Most often as poisons are alcohols and salts of heavy metals;
  • autoimmune. The development of pathology is due to the fact that the body begins to independently develop antibodies against its own cells.


Regardless of what caused the inflammatory process in the spinal cord, the clinical picture of different types of myelitis is similar:

  1. intoxication syndrome. It is very vivid. At the person the temperature rises, the appetite decreases, nausea and vomiting are observed;
  2. cerebral symptoms. Such symptoms are caused by the increased intracranial and spinal pressure. The victim has a headache with indomitable vomiting, which has no connection with the intake of food. It tends to increase under the influence of certain stimuli, such as loud sounds or bright lights.

Focal symptomatology directly depends on what stage of development is the inflammatory process in the spinal cord. Here it is worth noting that the main physiological function of the spinal cord is the conduction of nerve impulses from the brain to certain tissues and organs in the body. If the inflammatory process develops in one of the segments, the whole chain is broken, and the following symptoms appear:

  • impaired motor activity. In this case, both the mild form (paresis) and the complete immobility of the person (paralysis) can be observed;
  • Sensitivity disorder. The severity of symptoms directly depends on the size of the inflammatory focus. Sensitivity can both decrease (before full anesthesia), and rise. In some cases paresthesia is observed — sensations can be distorted.


If you find the first symptoms that indicate the possible development of myelitis, you need to contact the medical institution as soon as possible to diagnose the ailment. An accurate diagnosis is made after the medical specialist has examined the patient, and also after carrying out laboratory and instrumental examination techniques.

Laboratory methods:

  1. blood test
  2. blood biochemistry
  3. immunological tests
  4. bacteriological tests
  5. analysis of cerebrospinal fluid

Instrumental methods:

  • MRI
  • ENMG


Myelitis treatment should be started immediately, once the diagnosis was confirmed. In this case, the chances for its success increase several times. Doctors use both medicamentous and non-medicinal methods of treatment.


  1. The first thing to do. This eliminates the cause of the disease. To this end, doctors prescribe the patient to take antiviral drugs and antibiotics;
  2. eliminate inflammation. Appointed SCS, as well as immunosuppressants;
  3. symptomatic therapy. To eliminate unpleasant symptoms prescribed pain medication, diuretics and other;
  4. prevention of complications.

Non-drug therapy is used during the recovery period. A good effect is provided by the use of physiotherapy, exercise therapy, aquatherapy.


Now it is possible to carry out prophylaxis of those forms of ailment that were provoked by specific viruses, such as measles and poliomyelitis. Vaccination is carried out for this purpose. To all other forms there are no specific preventive measures.