What is Transverse myelitis?
Transverse simply means across. The term transverse myelitis refers to inflammation of the spinal cord. Transverse myelitis is an inflammatory disease condition of the spinal cord and nerves. In transverse myelitis the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibers of the spinal cord gets destroyed. Transverse myelitis is an autoimmune disease.
The damage to the myelin results into a scar which interrupts conduction of nerve impulse, causing miscommunication between the nerves in the spinal cord and rest of the body.
Transverse myelitis Ayurveda Perspective
Most of the neurological problems found correlation in Vata disorders mentioned in Ayurveda text and to some extent involvement Kapha is also important.
The exact term of Transverse myelitis is not mentioned in Ayurveda texts, but Urustambha and pangulya, mentioned in Ayurveda text can be co-related in some of the patient’s cases diagnosed with Transverse myelitis and can be treated accordingly. Urustambha means grave condition in which the thighs become hard and stiff and lose functional ability to move freely.
Is transverse myelitis curable in Ayurveda?
In early stage damagе of myelin, there are more chances of better recovery. Recovery may take few weeks or even couple of years depending upon the severity. But if there are no signs of recovery in first two or three months, then
recovery of the condition is always doubtful.
Signs and symptoms of Transverse myelitis
The symptoms generally appear very suddenly and may increase in intensity in a matter of hours, or over the period of months.
- Pain – sharp and sudden, initially in the lower back but may spread to the arms, legs, chest, abdomen etc. The areas affected are below the section of spinal cord affected by the disease mainly lower back.
- Altered sensations– Numbness, tingling, coldness or burning. Even a light touch or changes in temperature can create abnormal responses. Certain persons complain of a feeling of tightness around the chest, abdomen or legs also.
- Weakness of the limbs– Weakness depends on the area affected. It may be restricted to lower extremities only or both the extremities may be completely paralyzed. There will be a feeling of heaviness of the legs. Certain persons may develop severe weakness or complete paralysis with time.
- Bladder and bowel problems – increased frequency of urination is observed, urinary incontinence developed with time, difficulty in urination may occur in the initial stage. Loose bowels or constipation may also occur during the crisis period.
Complications of Transverse myelitis
Debilitating and severe pain that lasts for a very long time in the legs. This pain usually does not respond to analgesic. Partial or total paralysis of the arms or legs or both can be noted with progression of disease process. Stiffness or tightness of the muscles of the buttocks and legs. Spasticity of the muscles occur from time to time and become more intense.
Erectile dysfunction in males and lack of sexual pleasure in females can be noted with time. Person may suffer from depression, anxiety and loss of self-esteem due to chronic pain and disability.
Panchakarma treatment is planned in two steps in order to correct the condition.
Stage 1 – to purify the body tissues
Podikizzi- valuka pottali (Dry heating with Sand)
- Urustambha is Vata and Kapha dominant disease. There is involvement of Kapha and Ama (Bio-toxins) to vitiate Vata. There is special type of dry heating method to melt Kapha and Ama to remove blockages that are generating obstruction for nourishment of body tissues. Treatment will help of Vata to carry proper action in Urusthambha.
- Poddikizzi – take soft sand (Sea sand is preferable as in it is natural salt) and heat it up, wrap it in a cloth and make a bolus, use this bolus (Pottali) for create dry heat to the extremities especially legs.
Udvartan (Dry massage)
Dry massage to the extremities or affected area or the whole body is advised with special herbal mixture of various powders like, kolkulathadi churnam, Vacha (Acoruscalamus), Ashwagandha (Withania somenifera), Devadaru (Cedrus deodara), Pippali (Piper longum), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)} This dry massage helps to reduce Aama, Kapha and also offers strength to the muscles with stimulation.
Stage 2 – to improve strength and rejuvenation
Snehan Swedan (Oleation and Steam)
After removing blockages of excess Aama and Kapha, oil ayurveda massage with special thailams like (Saindhavadhi Taila), followed by Nadi swedana (Steam with pipe) can be given, which do pacify Vata without increasing Kapha and Aama.
Classical ayurvedic products used in the treatment
Rasasinduram Capsule, Valiya Madhusnuhi Rasayanam, Gulguluthiktham Kashayam
Rasasinduram is product that has ability to penetrate deep body tissue to correct inflammation at levels of nerves. This ayurvedic product has great possibility to stop all kind of auto immune inflammatory process in the body by correcting the blood function with combination of Gulguluthiktham Kashayam.
Effective single Ayurvedic Herbs
Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris)
Gokshura is Rasayana and Balya. It is reducing pain. It is anti-inflammatory and very much effective in strengthening the urinary system. It is better option when there is involvement of urinary system in transverse myelitis. It has a calming effect on the nerve as it pacifies Vata and also regenerates good Kapha, can be used to regenerate the myelin sheath.
Ashwagandha (Withania somenifera)
Ashwagandha is good for strengthening the nervous system, and it has a calming and sedative effect on the body and is most famous for its rejuvenating and nourishing qualities. It’s been used for treating insomnia and anxiety, this way it helps person fall asleep better without any side effects. Due to its sweet taste and warm potency it pacifies Vata, good for muscle strength as well.
Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa)
Punarnava literally means, a plant having abilities to rejuvenate. As the name suggests it can be added with other plants to regenerate the myelin sheath. Punarnava pacifies all the three dosha especially Kapha, due to its lekhana karma it has an ability to reduce the fibrotic tissues.
Classical herbal products like Chyavanaprasam, Narasimha Rasayanam, Brahma Rasayanam are very good in any stage of disease to help to stop future degenerative changes with time in the condition of transverse myelitis.