Tarlov Cysts: Everything You Need to Know

In Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy by Emily TranLeave a Comment

By Stephanie A. Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles


What are Tarlov Cysts? Tarlov cysts (a.k.a. perineural cysts) are cerebrospinal fluid-filled sacs found near the nerve roots at the lower end of the spinal canal, most commonly in the sacral spine area (the lower back and tailbone). 


While it is not known exactly what causes these cysts, they have been linked to trauma from childbirth or injury, an abnormal separation of layers within a nerve root sheath, weakened vessels between nerve root filaments, dysfunction of lymphatic drainage and/or hydrocephalus.


symptoms of tarlov cysts

Symptoms associated with Tarlov cysts can vary depending on their size and location. Some individuals may never experience any problems from them at all. 

Common symptoms include:

  • pain in affected areas such as the lower back or legs
  • numbness or tingling sensations throughout a limb or body part
  • muscle weakness or spasms in affected areas
  • bladder incontinence


tx for tarlov cysts


Treatments for Tarlov Cyst typically depend on severity and symptoms experienced. 

Possible treatments include:

▪️ corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation around radicular nerves

▪️ anticonvulsant meds to help manage any neurologic impairment due to irritation caused by expanded perineurals

▪️ PT or other interventions to improve posture and mobility

▪️ surgical resection if the cysts are causing severe compression.


Although Tarlov Cysts can cause significant medical complications, with proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals may be able to find relief from symptoms and regain their quality of life.  


It’s essential for anyone suspected of having a Tarlov cyst to consult their healthcare provider for the best possible course of treatment. With prompt diagnosis and intervention, Tarlov Cysts may be managed successfully.


Tarlov Cysts Specific Resources:

Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation:  A non-profit foundation dedicated to research, improved diagnosis, and development of successful treatments and outcomes for symptomatic Tarlov cysts. 

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD): rovides information about symptoms, causes, and treatments of Tarlov Cysts.

American Association of Neurological Surgeons: Offers an overview of neurosurgical techniques for symptomatic Tarlov cysts.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Provides a comprehensive understanding of Tarlov cysts, patient support resources, and professional societies. 



We are excited to announce our physical therapist, Molly, is now located in our 11th location in Columbus, OH. Now scheduling new patients- call (510) 922-9836 to book! 

Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

Do you enjoy or blog and want more content from PHRC? Please head over to social media!


 YouTube Channel

Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok

Leave a Comment