Do Tarlov Cysts Cause Symptoms?

Yes, Tarlov cysts can cause symptoms, and the severity and nature of these symptoms can vary from person to person. Tarlov cysts, also known as perineural cysts or sacral nerve root cysts, are cerebrospinal fluid-filled sacs that form at the nerve roots near the base of the spine (sacrum). While some individuals with Tarlov cysts may be asymptomatic and not experience any problems, others may develop symptoms due to the presence of these cysts.

Common symptoms associated with Tarlov cysts can include:

  1. Lower Back or Tailbone Pain:
    • Persistent, localized pain in the lower back or at the base of the spine (tailbone).
  2. Pelvic Pain:
    • Pain in the pelvic region, which can sometimes radiate to the buttocks, thighs, or genitals.
  3. Radiating Pain:
    • Pain that radiates down the legs, mimicking symptoms of sciatica.
  4. Numbness or Tingling:
    • Numbness, tingling, or altered sensation in the legs or feet.
  5. Bowel or Bladder Dysfunction:
    • Changes in bowel or bladder function, such as incontinence or difficulty emptying the bladder.
  6. Weakness or Muscle Atrophy:
    • Muscle weakness or wasting in the legs or buttocks.
  7. Difficulty Walking:
    • Difficulty walking or maintaining balance due to pain or muscle weakness.

It’s important to note that Tarlov cysts are often incidental findings during imaging tests for unrelated health issues, and not all cysts cause symptoms. The symptoms typically arise when the cysts grow, compress nearby nerve roots, or cause irritation to the surrounding tissues.

If you suspect you have Tarlov cysts or are experiencing any concerning symptoms related to your spine, nerves, or lower back, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, typically a neurologist or neurosurgeon, for a thorough evaluation, diagnosis, and appropriate management. Treatment options may include pain management, physical therapy, nerve blocks, or in some cases, surgical intervention to relieve pressure on the nerves caused by the cysts.

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