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What causes spinal lesions?

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Quick Answer

There are many causes of spinal lesions, including serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Lesions can also be caused by spinal injury or some infections.

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A lesion is defined as an abnormal change to any tissue, explains MedicineNet. This includes organs and parts of the nervous system such as the spine and brain. Spinal and brain lesions are known as central lesions and can vary from mild asymptomatic changes to signs of a life-threatening illness.

Common infections that cause spine lesions include the human immunodeficiency virus, poliovirus and syphilis, according to Merck Manual. Syphilis infections that are treated early do not lead to neurological problems, however. Cancers can also cause spinal tumors to appear, which are considered lesions. Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as B-12 and copper, may lead to myelopathy as well.

Certain autoimmune disorders can cause spinal lesions and other neurological symptoms, reports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. These include sarcoidosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. Genetic conditions such as the leukodystrophies may also affect the spinal cord.

Trauma is a common cause of spinal lesions, according to MedHelp. This can be external injuries from accidents or falls or internal ruptures such as herniated disks. Cervical spondylosis, which is often associated with normal aging, may also lead to spinal lesions.

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