Arachnoid membrane is a membrane that acts as a protective cover to the brain tissue and the entire spinal cord. The primary function of the membrane is to protect the underlying brain and spinal cord cells, whilst providing nutrition, through the cerebrospinal fluid, that flows between these membranes. Arachnoid cysts refer to fluid filled sacs that are located within the arachnoid membrane.
There are two basic types of arachnoid cysts which include,
- Primary arachnoid cyst, which is usually present since birth and are attributed to development anomalies during the early gestational age. These are the most common type of arachnoid cysts.
- Secondary arachnoid cyst which is associated with a head injury, tumor, meningitis or complication of a brain surgery. These are less frequently observed.
Most common location where arachnoid cysts are found is the temporal lobe of the brain and arachnoid cysts in the spinal cord are relatively rare. This condition is four times more common among males compared to their female counterparts.
Arachnoid Cyst Symptoms
In most cases, the symptoms associated with arachnoid cyst develop by the second decade of life; however some of the people with this condition don’t have any symptoms.
- Headaches which are dull and intermittent, which may be associated with inability to concentrate.
- Nausea and vomiting may be observed especially in cases of large cysts, pressing on the brain matter.
- Visual or hearing disturbances may be observed in advanced cases of cysts.
- Vertigo, especially on turning the head sideways or sitting in a fast moving vehicle is common. Occasionally individuals may complain of difficulty in walking and balancing.
- Arachnoid cyst in the spinal cord may cause leg pain or back pain and may be associated with tingling numbness in the legs or the arms.
Natural Treatment For Arachnoid Cyst
Diagnosis of the condition is important prior to initiating treatment. A brain scan or a diffusion weighted MRI scan is helpful as it distinguishes between fluid filled cysts from other types of cysts.
There is considerable amount of argument over the treatment- which varies depending upon the size and location of the cyst. Some experts suggest that if the cyst is small and is not affecting the surrounding tissue, with no manifestations, there is usually no need for any specific treatment. On the other hand, some experts suggest, it is easier to deal with cyst when it is non-symptomatic and smaller, than to wait for the condition to worsen.
Contemporary medicine focuses on shunting to drain the fluid in the cyst using endoscopic tools and microneurosurgical technology. However one can use alternative and complementary therapy to alleviate some of the symptoms,
- Ginger tea is considered useful in alleviating symptoms like vertigo and nausea. Boil freshly cut ginger roots in bowl of water and consume it when warm. Consume about one glass twice a day.
- Homeopathic drug Gelsimium and Lachesis are also potent in alleviating some of the symptoms like nausea, vomiting and dizziness. These drugs need to be consumed in low potency and should be repeated about three to four times in a day.
Unfortunately, the prognosis of arachnoid cysts is not good and if the condition is not treated promptly it may lead to progressive damage which may result in severe neurological damage.