Syringomyelia

Source: journals.lww.com

Syringomyelia occurs when a syrinx, or a cyst filled with fluid, form inside the spinal cord. It is most commonly found in the cervical spine in the region of the neck. The syrinx would press on the spinal cord as it grows. This results in the transmission of nerve impulses being interfered within.

Among every one hundred thousand individuals, around eight people are affected by this condition. For unknown reasons, more men are at risk compared to women. Around thirty years is the average onset age.

Generally, there are three kinds of syringomyelia. The most common type is associated with congenital abnormalities of the brain. Syringomyelia that develops due to complications after a tumor, infection, or trauma of the spine is the second kind. Syringomyelia, whose cause is not known, is the third kind. This kind of syringomyelia is known as idiopathic syringomyelia.

If untreated syringomyelia may cause quadriplegia or paraplegia in the affected individual, surgery is among the options in the treatment of syringomyelia.

Source: journals.lww.com

Symptoms

Symptoms differ between different individuals. Which symptoms an individual may exhibit will depend on what caused the syringomyelia, the cyst’s location, and the severity of the condition. Symptoms may develop at a languid pace, and this could result in a delay in the diagnosis of the situation.

People suffering from syringomyelia may experience headaches. They may experience weakness and pain in their arms, shoulders, legs, or back. They may also experience extreme pain in their neck and shoulders. Sensations of their skin may be lessened. For example, they may not feel extreme cold or excessive heat. They may lose feeling in their hands, such as the sensation of pain. Their muscles may develop into atrophy, and it may start with their hands and then spread to their shoulders and arms. They may suffer from sexual dysfunction. And in more advanced stages, their bladder and bowel control might be reduced.

Types

A clear fluid called the cerebrospinal fluid surrounds the spinal cord and the brain. The cerebrospinal fluid cushions and nourishes the central nervous system.

There are three general types of syringomyelia.

The first type is syringomyelia, which is due to congenital disabilities of the brain.

The second type is syringomyelia, which is due to spinal cord injuries. These injuries include infections like HIV and meningitis, tumors, and trauma, as well as extreme compression of the spinal cord.

The third type is called idiopathic syringomyelia. These are syringomyelia with no known cause.

Source: pixabay.com

Formation

The cerebrospinal fluid usually flows around the spinal cord and the brain. A syrinx or a cyst may form inside the spinal cord’s fragile tissue if the circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid is blocked.

At first, the syrinx might be small in size. As time passes, the syrinx becomes more substantial. It eventually presses on the nerves that surround the spinal cord. This may lead to damage to the nerves.

Syringomyelia advances typically at a slow pace, and it may take years to progress. However, symptoms may rapidly develop after coughing or straining.

Treatment

The treatment methodology will depend on the severity as well as the cause of the syringomyelia. If the syrinx is small in size, and the patient does not exhibit any symptoms, the doctor may not prescribe any treatment and will monitor the patient. Medication such as muscle relaxants and pain relievers may be prescribed to assist in easing specific symptoms. The doctor may perform a shunting procedure. In this procedure, the syrinx is inserted with a tube allowing the fluid to drain. Surgery may also be performed to treat whatever is causing the syringomyelia. For example, if a tumor causes the syringomyelia, then surgery is performed to remove the tumor.

Pediatric Tethered Cord

When a child develops typically, their spinal cord stops at a certain point in the child’s lower back. The spinal cord is not connected to any structure of the body or any skin. This allows the spinal cord to grow as the child grows.

In children afflicted with Pediatric Tethered Cord, some form of the disorder, trauma, or disease causes the spinal cord to be connected to the spinal column. The spinal cord can become stretched as the child grows older. This damages the spinal cord as well as the nerves surrounding it.

Source: pixabay.com

Symptoms

Children with Pediatric Tethered Cord often suffer from back pain. This pain often increases when the child is active and lessens when the child is resting. The lower back may exhibit a deep dimple or a fatty tumor. The lower back may also show an infection or a sore or a lesion. The lower end might also present a hairy patch. And the skin on the lower back may be discolored.

The child may exhibit deformities in their leg. And their leg strength may change. They may suffer pain in their legs, especially at the back portion of the leg. And they may have difficulty in walking. Their legs might feel numb, or they might feel tingling.

The child may exhibit scoliosis or a curving of the spine. The spine may feel tender.

The child may have problems with their bladder and their bowel like incontinence.

Causes

Pediatric Tethered Cord may be caused by trauma to the spine, surgery on the spine, or an infection to the dermal sinus tract. It may also be caused by a lipoma or a tumor, as well as by the presence of diastematomyelia, myelomeningocele, or lipomyelomeningocele.

Treatment

Issues due to Pediatric Tethered Cord may appear from the moment of your baby’s birth, or they may start looking as the child grows older. It depends on the severity and the cause of the disorder. These issues may include reduced sensation or even paralysis in the lower part of the body of the child. This will affect how they move as well as their bladder control. Children afflicted with Pediatric Tethered Cord will require care and support from a team that specializes in pediatric care as well as in pediatric urology. Some children and babies will need surgery to fix their tethered cord and to alleviate their problems with bladder control.

Source: www.cdc.gov

Children whose problem with their tethered cord is severe might require immediate surgery to prevent future complications. This is particularly true among children who are suffering from severe types of spina bifida. One such severe type of spina bifida is myelomeningocele. If surgeons do not fix the way the spinal cord is connected, the spinal cord will be stretched and damaged as the child grows. And this will cause additional problems with their urination, their nerves, and their movement.

Their doctors monitor children afflicted with Pediatric Tethered Cord but who do not display any symptoms. If the child starts to show signs, the doctor may suggest immediate surgery to prevent more damage to the child’s growth.

Unfortunately, any surgery that fixes the tethered cord will not repair any damage that has already been inflicted. These may require additional treatment.

Types Of Hydrocephalus

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So, what is hydrocephalus? It is an abnormal swelling in the head that causes said head to appear to be abnormally large. This excess size of the head is caused by an overload of a fluid called the cerebrospinal fluid, which then stretches brain spaces, called ventricles far too broad. This happens when production and absorption rates are not balanced equally. The pressure resulting from the imbalance is what causes hydrocephalus. 

Congenital And Acquired Hydrocephalus

The disorder can be congenital or acquired. The congenital hydrocephalus is one present at birth, which can be attributed to fetal development deficiencies, or genetic irregularities. Acquired hydrocephalus, on the other hand, is developed at birth, and can happen to any person of any age. This type is also attributed to a disease or an injury.

A hydrocephalus case can be classed as communicating or non-communicating. The former occurs when the CSF flow is obstructed after it exits the ventricles. It is called communicating because the CSF continues still to flow between the ventricles, which are still open. The latter type, however, doesn’t allow that since the CSF flow is obstructed along the restricted path linking the ventricles. 

The Symptoms

Hydrocephalus symptoms vary from one case to another, depending on age, disorder progression, and individual tolerances. Infants can still tolerate CSF buildup. For example, it is due to how their skull’s connecting joints aren’t fully developed yet, which lends flexibility, unlike an adult one. Common symptoms between ages are vomiting and sun-setting eyes (downward deviation). Among kids, the reported symptoms are as follows: sleepiness, irritability, and seizures.

Due to the nature of an adult skull, a CSF buildup may not be as bearable as when it happens in an infant. As such, the reported symptoms are increased and deviate from those of younger patients. Such symptoms include nausea, blurred/double vision, balance problems, poor coordination, disturbed gait, incontinence, slow or lost development process, lethargy, and drowsiness, among others.

Source: webmd.com

Treatment And Help

The prevalent method of treating hydrocephalus is by surgical insertion of a shunt system. This system includes a sturdy yet flexible plastic tube. Its duty is to redirect CSF flow from the CNS to another area that can absorb it as part of a normal circulatory process. The system comprises of the shunt, a catheter; one end placed within a ventricle, and another with the abdominal cavity, which can be other parts where CSF can be absorbed. Finally, a valve regulates CSF flow and maintains a one-way flow.

There is an alternative method of treatment called third ventriculostomy. This procedure involves a neuro endoscope: a small camera that makes use of fiber optic technology to illustrate difficult-to-reach surgical areas, like the ventricular surface. Once in position, a small tool bores a hole in the third ventricle’s floor, which allows CSF to elude the obstruction and flow on to resorption around the surface of the brain.

Source: ninds.nih.gov

More information about hydrocephalus and other neurological disorders funded by the NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders) can be obtained by contacting the BRAIN (Brain Resources and Information Network). They are located in Bethesda, MD, with P.O. Box 5801. You can check their website here and know more about hydrocephalus.

Hydrocephalus Facts

Hydrocephalus.

Victims usually are derided for its effect, that of having a bigger head than usual, to almost unreal proportions. This disorder can generally be found at birth and has rather apparent effects. It gets its name from the Greek words “hydro” and “cephalus,” respectively meaning “water” and “head.” It was believed in the past to be just excess water, but later on, it was discovered that such water was spinal fluid, known as cerebrospinal fluid.

Source: hydroassoc.org

This fluid is essential for three things:

  • keeping brain tissue afloat
  • a conduit for bringing nutrients in and waste out
  • to compensate for changes in blood volume inside the head

In excess, however, it stretches the ventricles too far, which are spaces in the brain. Such abnormal stretching is the reason behind a more prominent head size that hydrocephalus patients are mostly known for, as associated with the illness.

Source: hydroassoc.org

Unfortunately, science cannot understand well the reason why hydrocephalus happens. It is suspected to be caused by genetic abnormalities or developmental disorders. Other suspected culprits include premature birth complications, among them, are:

– intraventricular hemorrhage (internal blood loss that doesn’t escape the body),

– diseases like meningitis or tumors,

– traumatic head injury,

– subarachnoid hemorrhage.

All afflictions mentioned above block CSF movement, in entry or exit.

Source: hydroassoc.org

This health issue should be diagnosed by doing a thorough neurological assessment handled by a specialist and by utilizing advanced medical technology like cranial imaging. It can be ultrasonography, CT scan, MRI, or pressure-monitoring techniques. A physician selects the methods based on the patient’s specifics: age, pre-existing conditions, and clinical presentation.

The prognosis on people affected with hydrocephalus varies on different factors. Dealing with the prognosis is an unpredictable task, although there may be a correlation between the cause of the hydrocephalus and the outcome. Furthermore, the prognosis can be clouded by presently associated disorders, the time the diagnosis was made, and treatment success.

As for the risks hydrocephalus possesses, it presents a danger to both cognitive and physical development. There is, however, a chance to recover to a semblance of normalcy with a few limitations, with the help of rehab therapies and educational interventions. Treatment is done right by a combined-discipline team of medical professionals, rehab specialists, and educational experts can mean the difference between success and failure. Untreated; however, it can be fatal, especially if it’s of the progressive kind.

Symptoms brought about by normal pressure hydrocephalus do get worse, if left unchecked. While shunt treatment success varies from person to person, it usually is recommended to do so for treating hydrocephalus. Diagnosis and treatment done early can be critical for proper recovery.

As of present writing, NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), National Institutes of Health, along with other relevant institutions are researching hydrocephalus, and are taking on additional support with grants to major medical institutions across the nation. The main focus of this research is on how best to treat and prevent the disorder, which ultimately may lead to a cure. A conglomerate of centers collaborating for research was born out of the first NIH workshop on Hydrocephalus, known as the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN). The Network consists of seven pediatric centers that put together their combined data on their respective hydrocephalus patients to further spur on research for improved medication.

How To Remain Positive At All Times (Tips From A Therapist)

One of the secrets to living a happy life is to stay positive at all times. Unfortunately, there are several challenges that you may encounter when it comes to achieving this. Whether you like it or not, you will always find yourself in a compromising situation where staying positive may become a struggle. Do not worry because you can do something about this. In today’s article, we are going to share some strategies and tips on how to attract positivity in your life. All these techniques came from a therapist.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Here are some of the smart ideas that you have to consider:

 

See The Good In Everything

 

Are you aware that in every single thing that happens in your life, there is always something good that comes out of it? What you need to do is to make an effort to recognize anything advantageous or beneficial on your part because the said situation took place. Stop wallowing in sadness just because you were not able to accomplish what you wanted. Instead, believe that it happened for something higher and better is coming your way. Be patient so that you can soon reap the right things.

 

Be With Positive People

 

Cliché as it may sound but the line “Tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are,” remains to be a fact. The kind of people you surround yourself with can influence you in so many ways. As such, it is best if you will try to make friends with like-minded individuals. Do not establish relations or connections with someone who will only contribute bad vibes and negativity in your life. The best or ideal thing to do is to get to know your friends and start choosing who among them carry positivity at all times.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Take A Break

 

Another strategy that you have to consider at this point is to learn when to take a break from everything that keeps you busy. Remember that life is short to waste it tiring and to exhaust yourself. If you believe that you are already overwhelmed with things to do in the office or your business, then do not hesitate to take a break. Go on a vacation with your family or have fun with friends. Do whatever it takes to bring joy in your life. Once this happens, it will be a lot easier for you to remain happy and energetic.

 

Stop Being Sensitive

 

One of the vital things that you have to remind yourself continually is to stop overreacting about every single situation that you encounter. Keep in mind that you can always become in control of how you can react in every situation. Never allow anyone or anything to make you lose your temper or hurt you in any way. Take note that you do not have to be sensitive. What is essential at this point is to remain strong so that nothing can ever shake you. Practice mindfulness so that you can also learn how to control yourself in varying situations.

 

Be Kind To Others

 

If you want to attract more happiness and positivity in your life, then be sure to practice kindness wherever you go. Make an effort to be polite and kind to everyone surrounding you. We understand that it is not an easy thing to do, especially when other people are ungrateful or selfish. However, everything will be worth it the moment you learn how to spread kindness like confetti. Keep in mind that the more you share your compassion to everyone, the more you will bring in positive vibes in your life.

 

Source: pixabay.com

 

Take Care Of Yourself

 

If there is one essential thing that you have to prioritize in life, it is finding ways to take good care of yourself. Stop making excuses for not loving who you are and maintaining everything about you. It is okay to be vain at times if it means increasing your self-confidence and self-esteem. Keep in mind that feeling better about yourself and understanding who you are can help a lot in adding good vibes to your day-to-day life. Learn how to appreciate everything about you so that you can start to feel good in your life.

 

As already emphasized above, life is too short to worry about things that are not worth it. Learn how to be happy and positive with the tips mentioned above. Make sure to continue to choose positivity over negativity. It can be hard at times, which is why you need to keep going until everything feels better in your life.

 

Working With My Syrinx And Chiari, I’m Not Giving Up

I was your regular healthy guy who was active, sporty, living a normal happy life with my family and fiancée.   It never occurred to my mom or me that I got this abnormality up inside my head.  I didn’t feel anything strange growing up.  Not until the day when while on my way home from work, I felt dizzy that ends up like this throbbing pain in my head.

Source:  pixabay.com

 

Misdiagnosed As A Migraine

A headache can mean nothing serious or something serious.   It is a symptom caused by many factors from dehydration, hunger, stress, to brain injury.

My headache stayed for days to the point that it became unbearable.  I dropped by the Urgent Care Center nearby and had it checked.  The attending physician tried to relieve the discomfort I was into, did some tests and questioning, and ensure me that it was nothing serious.  He gave me pills that I could take, list of things I should avoid, and asked me to keep track of the headaches.   But at that moment, he suspected it was just some case of a simple migraine.

 

What In The World Are Chiari And Syrinx? 

While at work, I got this throbbing headache again, like I wanted to vomit.  Then, I started to feel numb all over.  My officemates immediately noticed the change in my color.   I told them I feel like passing out and I did.   That moment, they immediately called 911.

In the ER, they did an x-ray, CT scan, spinal tap, and MRI.  I could hear the attending doctor telling the nurse it could be a case of stroke.  I started to get worried.  Hours later, the doctor came and she told me, it’s Chiari 1 Malformation.

What was that again?

 

Was My Brain Too Big Or My Skull Too Small?

The doctor got this picture of a brain and showed me how part of my brain was pushing out through the opening at the base of my skull, putting pressure on my brain stem and the spinal cord.  This is what causes the headaches, numbness, nausea, and my recent passing out spell.

Source:  commons.wikimedia.org

 

And There’s More, Syringomyelia

With another run of MRI, they found syrinx or a cyst that is filled with fluid in my spinal cord.  The doctor said that it might get big, could cause damage to my spinal cord, and give me difficulty in my daily living in the long term.  Since it was caused by protrusion of my brain tissue, they recommend that I undergo surgery.

 

Doctors Split Up My Skull

My life drastically changed overnight.  There were things I was not allowed to do.  I could not go to the gym, do strenuous exercises, and have night outs.  I was asked to slow down a bit so as not to put more pressure on my spine.  It is not the life I’m used to, and it’s kind of depressing.

Source:  af.mil

After weeks of deep thinking, I told myself, why not give it a go.  I let the doctor open up my skull, remove part of its base to enlarge the opening.   The goal of the surgery is to reduce the pressure on my brain and spinal cord and allow the normal flow of the spinal fluid.  The doctors are also hoping that it would resolve or improve the status of my syringomyelia.

 

Surgery Didn’t Work

Surgery was not always a success, something went wrong that decompression failed, so it has to be redone at another hospital.  The doctors succeeded this second time.  But with further monitoring, the surgery was unable to restore the normal flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, so the syrinx is still there.

It’s been months since my surgery.   The recovery is very slow, but the symptoms are improving.  I’m determined to get my life back, so I won’t give up on hoping even if it would mean another surgery.

 

I Found Out I Have Chiari Malformation: Wait, What?

I am on my mid-30s, and as of this age, we are all expecting to have a little weirdness in our body. However, mine was a little too extreme for me. I came to the point where I suspect myself of dying from cancer. I thought of several diseases that could be causing the suffering I am feeling. Continue reading “I Found Out I Have Chiari Malformation: Wait, What?”

Establish Mindfulness: What Is Arnold Chiari Malformation?

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All of us has had a headache in our lifetime. It could be a signal of stress, lack of sleep, hunger, or other medical health conditions such as the Arnold Chiari Malformation. Some of us may be clueless of this condition as we don’t even know it existed. The symptoms could be mistaken for other medical conditions, and the only way to identify it accurately is by seeking a professional opinion. Continue reading “Establish Mindfulness: What Is Arnold Chiari Malformation?”