The discomfort, which is sometimes experienced early in the course of the disease, generally is deep and aching and can be severe.
Syrinx extension into the anterior horns of the spinal cord damages motor neurons (lower motor neuron) and causes diffuse muscle atrophy that begins in the hands and progresses proximally to include the forearms and shoulder girdles. Respiratory insufficiency, which usually is related to changes in position, may occur.
This is comparable to a cyst, a cavity filling with a fluid identical of similar to cerebrospinal fluid and extracellular fluid, which slowly expands, putting pressure on the spinal cord and thus damaging it.
Syringomyelia occurs more frequently in men than in women.
The damage to the spinal cord as seen in patients suffering from Syringomyelia is caused by a Syrinx.
Pain and temperature sensation may be impaired in either or both arms, or in a shawl-like distribution across the shoulders and upper torso anteriorly and posteriorly.
Dysesthetic pain, a common complaint in syringomyelia, usually involves the neck and shoulders, but may follow a radicular distribution in the arms or trunk.
At the moment, no specific Chiari or Syringomyelia scale has been made, but for now, we most often use the KPI: Karnofsky Performance Index Although it is quite a crude measure, it relies on doctor assessment and some research indicates that the scale is not very reliable, we use it until a better suited scale is created and has been tested for validity and reliability.
There is no specific medical treatment for syringomyelia, but the origin of the disease can be met.
Since a picture says more than a thousand words, here is a schematic representation of an upper chiari deformation in both sagittal and intersectional view.
We can observe how the Syrinx causes stress on the spinal cord and damages it on a long term.
The most common example is Arnold-Chiari malformation, which is also associated with communicating syringomyelia.
Other causes include the following: Approximately 10% of syringomyelia cases are of this type. In some cases a blockage of CSF circulation occurs: a shunt operation may be the best therapeutic option for these patients.
The disease usually appears in the third or fourth decade of life, with a mean age of onset of 30 years.