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Can a long lasting viral fever cause leg pain and hydromyelia?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2010
Answered : 126 Questions
Son (10 years old) had a virus that lasted a long time (three weeks) with fever lasting three weeks as well that would go up and down. In the second week of his illness he developed bad pains in his legs and could hardly walk. We are in week six and his left leg still hurts and cannot walk on it. Doctors are just baffled by this and we are not getting any answers. Did an MRI and turns out he has hydromyelia (excessive fluid in the upper spinal cord) which they say has nothing to do with his leg pain since it's the upper part of the spine and not the lower. Can a long lasting virus attack the muscles, nerves or bones? Any possibilities on what is going on here. Please help!
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Tulasi Raman.P 3 hours later

Thanks for the query.

You have to understand my limitations here without an examination after your doctors were not able to find clues.

I shall try to give my opinion here.

Leg pain and weakness after three weeks of an episode of viral fever along with your son's symptoms suggest a possibility of post viral complications.

Probable conditions would be:
1. Simple post viral neuralgia
2. Guillain-Barré Syndrome

The above conditions are due to a disorder in the immune system where the protective immune system starts damaging our own body components and thereby causing problems.

Simple Post Viral Neuralgia
This is a common condition after an episode of viral fever. It subsides on its own within short period of time. A repeat follow up is needed frequently till his symptoms gets better.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome
This is an immunological condition which affects the nerves. The symptoms of which would be weakness and burning sensation of limbs after a period 2-3 week following an episode of viral fever this can ascend to the upper limbs. This requires an immediate attention by a Pediatric Neurologist. You would also require an CSF analysis to confirm this condition.

Regarding the MRI report:
Hydromyelia in the upper spinal cord.
As your doctor said it has nothing to do with your son's leg pain as the lesion is the upper part of the spinal cord. I would also agree with it.

Regarding your query of the possibility of damage to muscle, nerve or bone after an episode of viral fever. It is possible from the possibility which I have explained above.

I suggest you to get a referral to a Pediatric Neurologist.

Hope I have answered your query. If you have any follow up queries I will be available to answer them.
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