Transverse Myelitis

Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. The term myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord; transverse simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.

Symptoms of transverse myelitis include the following:

  • a loss of spinal cord function over several hours to several weeks
  • a sudden onset of lower back pain
  • muscle weakness
  • abnormal sensations in the toes and feet
  • paralysis
  • urinary retention
  • loss of bowel control

Although some patients recover from transverse myelitis with minor or no residual problems, others suffer permanent impairments that affect their ability to perform ordinary tasks of daily living. Most patients will have only one episode of transverse myelitis; a small percentage may have a recurrence. Vaccines are linked to transverse myelitis.

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Vaccine injury can be often very complicated, painful and lifelong. Injuries compensated by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program include the following:

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