Rebuilding livesPromoting independencePreventing injuries

Post polio and transverse myelitis

Your spine can affected by inflammation from viral infections, abnormal immune reactions, or insufficient blood flow through the blood vessels located in the spinal cord.

This can be caused by:

Post polio syndrome

While the World Health Organisation has certified Australia as polio free, people who experienced polio in their youth can develop post polio syndrome in later life. The most common symptoms of the late effects of polio are:

  • unaccustomed fatigue
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle and/or joint pain
  • breathing or swallowing difficulties
  • increased sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • difficulty in sleeping
  • a decline in the ability to perform basic daily activities.

Our Post Polio Networks offer those dealing with the late effects of post polio a forum in which to share experiences and provide support.

Transverse myelitis

The term ‘myelitis’ refers to inflammation of the spinal cord and ‘transverse’ simply describes the position of the inflammation, that is, across the width of the spinal cord.

Therefore, transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibres. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spinal cord and the rest of the body.

Transverse myelitis occurs in adults and children, in both genders, and in all races. No familial predisposition is apparent.

You can find out more about transverse myelitis from the Transverse Myelitis Association.

We are Australia’s leading organisation for representing people with transverse myelitis and coordinate member networks to offer support and advice.

[return to top]