Transverse myelitis (TM) is a rare neurological disorder, with around 300 new cases of the disease recorded in the UK every year. TM may occur in isolation or with another illness.
When TM occurs in isolation, it is believed to be caused by an abnormal activation of the immune system against the spinal cord. In contrast, around a third of patients also present with flu-like symptoms, including fever.
The main symptoms of TM are muscle weakness, primarily in the legs, less commonly in the arms. However, the very first symptom is often pain in the lower back, combined with burning or tingling sensations in the legs.
Any orthotic treatment must go hand-in-hand with what is recommended to you by your neuro- physiotherapist. Depending on an individual’s exact symptoms muscles can be activated by using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), while foot drop can be treated with bespoke Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO).
The Transverse Myelitis Society offers both emotional and practical support, with Equipment Grants, Regional Support groups and a Neurophysio bursary scheme.