Question: I do not have MS but I have (had?) Acute Transverse Myelitis in 1977. It is now 37 years later and I am curious if any of you are seeing TM patients with symptoms simiiar to Post Polio Syndrome? I have been out of work now for 2 years after fairly sudden onset of fatigue, joint pain (mostly knees and hips so below level of injury) and muscle weakness. It is absolutely not just aging out of a skeleton that may have been off kilter for all of these years.
Answer: Acute transverse myelitis (TM) is an inflammatory condition confined to the spinal cord, often associated with a recent viral infection, and often occurring in young individuals like yourself at the age of 19. The hallmark symptoms are acute (hours to a few days) to subacute (1 to 4 weeks) onset and progression of back pain, weakness and sensory loss below the level of spinal cord involvement, and loss of bowel and bladder function.
It follows the rule of, “thirds” with 1/3 experiencing near complete recovery, 1/3 partial recovery and 1/3 with little recovery. The condition rarely reoccurs and people rarely develop Multiple Sclerosis. There are alternative conditions to exclude, but this is a straightforward matter in most cases. Depending on the degree of residual problems, it is not uncommon to observe worsening symptoms later in life. The worsening symptoms and function may be related to secondary problems such as the development of arthritis, scoliosis or contractors or may be related to what the questioner referred to as “post-Polio” phenomenon.
By this we mean that the nervous system has a limited capacity to compensate for injury and respond to stress; this capacity may be overwhelmed with time and lead to accelerated aging or neurodegeration of pathways that previously were responsible for recovery. All individuals with significant residual symptoms and problems from TM (or any other neurological condition) should undergo periodic reevaluation (at least every few years) by someone with expertise in neurorehabilitation to ensure adequate adaption and recovery ensues and to prevent or manage secondary complications that arise over time.
An excellent source of information is The Transverse Myelitis Association (myelitis.org)
Rip Kinkel, MD
PLEASE NOTE: The information/opinions on this site should be used as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-HCP relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.
PLEASE NOTE: This information/opinions on this site should be used as an information source only. This information does not create any patient-HCP relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.