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Cauda Equina Syndrome
and Back Pain



Cauda Equina is known as a group of nerve roots at the lower end of the spinal cord.

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

 

The rare condition that affects the nerve endings at the bottom of the spinal column which can have severe consequences to a person’s mobility if it is not dealt with immediately is known as Cauda Equina Syndrome.

This condition weakens the nerves, which then receive electrical impulses sent from the brain that permit the lower limbs and pelvic organs to carry out they purpose properly. If this condition is not dealt with, it can cause permanent paralysis, problems with the bowel and bladder and impotency.


This condition can occur if a person has suffered a viral infection, narrowing of the spinal canal or a slipped disc which has not been treated. Also many spinal injuries are bought on by a violent jolt or blow such as one might obtain if involved in a car accident. Spina Bifida is a congenital deformity (an abnormality in the closure of the spinal canal) which can also play a part.

Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

 

This condition has an extensive and altering mix of symptoms related to it but remember if any of the symptoms below are experienced then you should seek advice from your GP straight away.

• Stiffness when standing
• Tingling prickling feeling in the legs, buttocks, thighs or feet
• Numbness or pain in the legs
• Bowel Dysfunction
• Bladder weakness
• Impotency

If any symptoms mentioned above appear over a continued period of time you should visit your doctor and give as much details as possible about the nature of the pain and the symptoms you have been experiencing.

In some cases the condition is only a temporary one that can be cured but for that to happen you have to give your doctor as much information as you can, that is very important. In these less serious cases the myelin covering that surrounds the nerves can become damaged so this can result in a temporary dysfunction, which can last quite a few weeks to a number of months.

In the more severe cases, the nerves (axons) be damaged but the good thing is that the nerves that run to the muscles (motor nerves) can grow back but this can be quite limited and can usually only be achieved after having surgery.

Diagnosis

 

Your doctor will examine you and assess your stability, reflexes, ability to stand and walk and also your muscle strength. Your doctor may also ask for blood tests to be done and in severe cases a lumbar puncture too, which is when a needle is inserted into the lower spinal column to draw fluid for testing.

On top of this your doctor may also need X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computerised Tomography) scans to try and put together a more thorough picture.

Again it is extremely important that if you believe you have any of the symptoms mentioned that you contact your doctor at once so that he or she can take the proper steps to try and limit the damage. It is vital to remember that not only can this problem cause severe problems with the spine and the lower limbs but it can have unpleasant effects on the bowel, bladder, and sexual organs, which, if not treated, can lead to almost certain paralysis.

It is also very important to make sure that you continue sitting with the correct posture in the workplace and if it is necessary for you to lift any heavy objects then you do so in the proper way.















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