Syringomyelia occurs when a fluid-filled syrinx or cyst forms on the spinal cord. If the condition progresses, serious health complications can result. Though there are several possible causes of syringomyelia, the most common relate to Chiari malformations.
Symptoms of syringomyelia and their severity vary from one individual to another. Some people with syringomyelia experience no symptoms, but they can become so severe as to be disabling. Additionally, the condition may or may not progress slowly over time. Initially, muscle weakness, loss of sensitivity to temperature and pain, and loss of reflexes may occur in the hands, arms, shoulders, and back of the neck. Other symptoms include pain in the arms, neck, and back, muscle spasms and weakness in the legs, stiffness in the arms, shoulders, back, and legs, scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and bladder and bowel problems. Severe cases can result in paralysis in the arms and legs.
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