The Aword

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Autoimmune Component

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The following group of symptoms is reflective of the inflammatory nature of the condition and may point to an autoimmune component: 

Most arachnoiditis patients experience a fluctuating course of the more systemic symptoms, with intermittent "flare-ups" and periods of relative remission.

Some have intermittent low-grade fevers, malaise and raised ESR and/or white cell count.

They may also have lymphadenopathy.

A common feature is skin rash, often unexplained. Often this is urticarial or there may be angio-oedema , both suggestive of an allergic-type reaction. Some patients present with a vasculitic type rash.

A few develop photosensitivity, but this may be related to medication.

Joint pains are also common, not just in weight bearing joints, but also small joints.

A number of patients complain of dry eyes and mouth (as seen in Sjogren's syndrome) but this is likely to be due to side effects of medication in most cases.

Other eye problems include iritis and uveitis, both inflammatory conditions seen also in association with autoimmune diseases.

Patients may have a dual diagnosis of arachnoiditis and fibromyalgia (or chronic fatigue).

It is likely that the features of myofascial pain and malaise are part of the arachnoiditis syndrome itself rather than a separate condition.

A minority of patients also has a diagnosis of an autoimmune disease in conjunction with their diagnosis of arachnoiditis.

These include Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, Thyroiditis, Sweet's syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis and Crohn's disease