Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder involving inflammation across the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body. Transverse Myelitis is an autoimmune disorder meaning that that body’s immune system starts to attack healthy tissue and systems. Vaccination, in addition to viral and bacterial infections, has been found to trigger transverse myelitis.
Symptoms of transverse myelitis include a loss of spinal cord function over several hours to several weeks. What usually begins as a sudden onset of lower back pain, muscle weakness, or abnormal sensations in the toes and feet can rapidly progress to more severe symptoms, including paralysis, urinary retention, and loss of bowel control.