How is arachnoiditis diagnosed?

Difficulty in diagnosing arachnoiditis has been compounded by a lack of awareness about the problem. Diagnosing arachnoiditis can be difficult, but tests such as the CT scan (computerized axial tomography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) have helped with diagnosis. A test called an electromyogram (EMG) can assess the severity of the ongoing damage to affected nerve roots by using electrical impulses to check nerve function. Myelograms with the radiographic contrast currently in use, combined with CT scanning, are not considered to be responsible for causing arachnoiditis or causing it to worsen. Sometimes a lumbar puncture, in which spinal fluid is withdrawn for testing is important if arachnoiditis may be due to infections or other processes in the spinal fluid.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/10/2019.

References

  • US Department of Health and Human Services. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Arachnoiditis. Accessed 6/14/2019.
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Arachnoiditis Information Page. Accessed 6/14/2019.
  • National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). Arachnoiditis. Accessed 6/14/2019.
  • Waldman SD. Arachnoiditis. In: Waldman SD. Atlas of Common Pain Syndromes. 3rd ed. Saunders; 2012: chap 79.
  • Osborne MD, Wallace A. Arachnoiditis. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2015; chap 95.
  • Kalina J. Arachnoiditis. J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2012 Jun;26(2):176-7.

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