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It is possible that the main title of the report Arachnoiditis is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Arachnoiditis is a disease characterized by an acute inflammatory stage that occurs in the dura (exterior) and the arachnoid (interior), two of the three membranes that cover and protect the brain, the spinal cord and the nerve roots. The arachnoid contains the cerebrospinal fluid which circulates from the brain to the sacral area, about every two hours; it filters any invasion and usually responds first by inflammation and follows with a chronic stage life-lasting phase characterized by scarring and fibrosis. As a result, abnormal adhesion of nerve roots to the dural sac or to each other (clumping) occurs in a variety of configurations that alter significantly the function of the roots and the spinal cord. This causes a variety of neurological deficits and severe chronic neuropathic pain usually located in the area affected. In the pre-antibiotic era, severe cases of tuberculosis or syphilis invaded the spine causing arachnoiditis; currently these infections are rare, but it is important to mention that arachnoiditis will result in most patients affected by fungal meningitis from attempted epidural injections of tainted steroids.

Supporting Organizations

American Chronic Pain Association

P.O. Box 850
Rocklin, CA 95677
Tel: (916)632-0922
Fax: (916)652-8190
Tel: (800)533-3231

American Pain Society

8735 W. Higgins Road
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: 847.375.4715

BackCare, the Charity for Healthier Backs

16 Elmtree Road
Teddington, TW11 8ST
United Kingdom
Tel: 2089775474
Fax: 2089435318
Tel: 8451302704

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424

National Spinal Cord Injury Association

75-20 Astoria Blvd
Jackson Heights, NY 11370
Tel: (718)803-3782
Tel: (800)962-9629

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  1/14/2013
Copyright  2013 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.