Transverse Myelitis

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Transverse Myelitis

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Ascending Myelitis
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome
  • Concussion Myelitis
  • Foix-Alajouanine Myelitis
  • Subacute Necrotizing Myelitis
  • Funicular Myelitis
  • Systemic Myelitis

General Discussion

Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder of the spine caused by inflammation across the spinal cord. It is sometimes associated with the term myelopathy, which refers to any disorder of the spinal cord. However, transverse myelitis is a more specific term for inflammation (myelitis) across the width of the spinal cord (transverse) that results in changed function below this level while function remains normal above. Symptoms are related to movement and sensory functions. This disorder occurs in both adults and children, and typically begins with a rather rapid development of symptoms over the course of several hours, days, or weeks. Symptoms may include lower back pain, weakness in the legs and arms, sensory disturbance, spasms leading to gradual paralysis, and bowel or bladder disfunction.

In most cases, this is a disorder that occurs on a single occasion, although a small number of individuals may experience recurrence. The initial occurrence may be followed, over a period of several weeks or months, by a period of recovery, although this does not happen in all cases. There is considerable variability in the degree of recovery achieved. Transverse myelitis is sometimes associated with other diseases, including systemic autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosis and sarcoidosis. It may be occur following viral or bacterial infections, especially those associated with a rash, spinal cord injuries, or immune reactions.


Transverse Myelitis Association
1787 Sutter Parkway
Tacoma, OH 43065-8806
Tel: (614)766-1806

Spinal Cord Society
19051 County Hwy. 1
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Tel: (218)739-5252
Fax: (218)739-5262

Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Inc.
206 South Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Tel: (217)753-1190
Fax: (217)525-1271

National Spinal Cord Injury Association
1 Church Street
Suite 600
Rockville, MD 20850
Tel: (301)214-4006
Fax: (866)387-2196
Tel: (800)962-9629

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
TDD: (301)468-5981

MUMS National Parent-to-Parent Network
150 Custer Court
Green Bay, WI 54301-1243
Tel: (920)336-5333
Fax: (920)339-0995
Tel: (877)336-5333

Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A
Short Hills, NJ 07078
Tel: (973)379-2690
Fax: (973)912-9433
Tel: (800)225-0292

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
TDD: (888)205-3223

Devic's Support
107 Woodside Manor
Carmichaels, PA 15320

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ® (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

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.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  4/22/2008
Copyright  1988, 1989, 1996, 2004 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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