Syringomyelia is a disease that is identified when cysts are formed inside the spinal cord and the reason why it is so complicated as a disease is that the spinal nerves can be damaged as well as the spinal cord and when this occurs you can have symptomology arise in many areas of the body. You can have cardiovascular complications, difficulty in breathing, urinary system, gastrointestinal system and your ability to walk, the talk will be affected. It is a multi-faceted disease.
There are procedures such as shunting that can help to shrink them and also procedures such as decompression if the patient has Chiari malformation and there are other procedures that are being done in many emergency centers. Some many advanced techniques and approaches will benefit the patient with less hospital stay and fewer complications.
What are the indicators of Syringomyelia?
For the people who are suffering from Chiari malformation are likely to experience the symptoms between the ages of twenty-five and forty. One shouldn’t take coughing or straining lightly as it may trigger the condition.
Weakness in the muscles. Spinal curvature, loss of reflexes, neck pain, loss of sensitivity to pain, arms pain, pain in the head, stiffness in your back, loss of sensitivity to temperature, stiffness in your shoulders, pain in the back, stiffness in your arms and legs are considered as the signs and symptoms of syringomyelia.
The above symptoms can occur at any time and can affect the following body parts. It includes
When to consult a physician
Consult your doctor or a therapist immediately if you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms described above. Your doctor should evaluate you for other possible causes of your symptoms before treating the actual condition. Together, you and your doctor can determine the best way to manage your symptoms.
What are the causes of syringomyelia?
The main cause of syringomyelia is the malformation of the brain and this condition is called Chiari malformation. Following are the causes of syringomyelia other than the Chiari malformation. These causes include
- Tumour present in the spinal cord
- Tethered spinal cord
- Spinal cord injury
What are the complications of syringomyelia?
There can be a variety of complications that can include and this is very important to keep in mind. Paralysis, weakness in your leg muscles, chronic pain, stiffness in your leg muscles, and an abnormal curve of your spine are the complications due to the damage spinal nerves as well as the spinal cord.
How is syringomyelia diagnosed?
To diagnose this condition, your physician may recommend several tests and ask a piece of detailed information about the symptoms you are experiencing in the past few days. Your doctor can complete a physical exam and review your medical history. Following are the additional tests that you need to undergo to confirm the diagnosis of syringomyelia. These tests include
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computed tomography (CT)
Let’s discuss the above tests in detail.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
This test is used to get detailed images of your spine and spinal cord. Doctors depend on the MRI to confirm the diagnosis of syringomyelia. An MRI can produce perfect images by using the radio waves and a strong magnetic field.
Magnetic resonance imaging can give a clear picture of your spinal cord to your physician and he or she will observe whether the syrinx has developed or not. A doctor can see a syrinx in your spinal cord with the help of magnetic resonance imaging.
In other scenarios, your physician will inject a dye through your blood vessel and it will provide the necessary information about the tumours or other abnormalities. Your physician may recommend MRI scans over time to monitor your condition.
Computed tomography (CT) scan
This scan is used to detect the tumours or other abnormalities in your spine. It can also provide the necessary information to your doctor by giving a detailed view of your spine and spinal cord.
What are the treatment options available for syringomyelia?
There are treatments for this which can include lifestyle alternations, non-prescription options as well as prescription medications. The course of action will be decided by your physician based on the severity of your symptoms and the way it is progressing. Following are the treatment options available for syringomyelia. These options include
- Lifestyle Alterations
Let’s discuss the above treatment options in detail.
Monitoring is all you need if syringomyelia is not causing any symptoms to you. Your physician will monitor your condition and several neurological exams will be conducted. If you are experiencing the pain sensations in your shoulders and arms, then your physician may prescribe gabapentin drug which can help you to manage the pain in your shoulders and arms.
Jerky movements, dizziness, unusual movements in the eyes, feeling sleepy all the time, high temperature of the body, unsteadiness, double vision, loss of memory, tremors, lack of coordination, viral infections, and unable to speak are the various side effects associated with the use of gabapentin.
The above side effects can occur at any time during drug use and it is advised you to consult your physician when you are experiencing the side effects of this drug. Your doctor may change the dosage of your condition or switch you to another drug.
Surgery is the final option for any patient with syringomyelia. If this condition is interfering with your daily activities and causing you severe pain in your shoulders, neck, arms, and legs then your physician may recommend surgery to give you relief from the symptoms of syringomyelia.
The main objective of your physician is to relieve the pressure on your spinal cord and also to detect the underlying cause of the syrinx. This procedure can ease the symptoms and restore the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. There are many advanced techniques and approaches that will benefit the patient to reduce the pressure on your brain and spinal cord. Following are the surgery options. It includes
- Treating Chiari malformation
- Draining of the syrinx
- Removing the tumours
- Correcting the abnormality
Let’s discuss the above surgery options in detail.
Treating Chiari malformation: your physician may choose this option if the main cause of your condition is the malformation of the brain. This procedure involves taking out the small section of bone at the back of your skull. Through this procedure, all your brain functions will come to normal.
Draining the syrinx: The main objective of this procedure is to shrink the syrinx, and it is known as shunting. Your physician will insert a drainage system through this procedure which in turn can shrink the syrinx and aid in the Chiari malformation.
Removing the tumours: If there is a tumour present in your spinal cord and stopping the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid, then your physician will remove the tumour surgically and restore the normal flow.
Correcting abnormality: This surgical procedure is used to remove the abnormalities in your spinal cord and to restore the normal levels of fluid flow of cerebrospinal fluid and allow the syrinx to drain.
You should make some modifications to your lifestyle. Physical therapy is the best way to manage the neurological conditions which are causing you
- Muscle weakness
- Severe pain
A well-balanced diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight can reduce the chances of experiencing these adverse conditions associated with syringomyelia.
People who undergo treatment have managed the symptoms well. By keeping this point in mind, it is advised to have a word with your physician immediately if you are experiencing syringomyelia symptoms.
Your doctor can complete a physical exam and review your medical history to determine which treatment option would be best for you. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment and also attend follow-up appointments with your doctor.