The Spine Center

Highly skilled & patient-centered care.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda Equina is a rare condition that occurs when the nerve roots at the end of the spinal column are compressed or paralyzed, resulting in a loss of sensation or movement in the lower body, including bladder and bowel functions.

Causes:

  • Children born with abnormalities that cause Cauda Equina
  • Fracture
  • Infection
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Ruptured disc
  • Trauma (car accident, gunshot, fall, etc.)
  • Tumor

Symptoms:

  • Bladder/Bowel dysfunction - unable to hold it, or retaining waste
  • Loss of sensation in lower body
  • Pain, numbness, or weakness spreading to one or both legs that may cause you difficulty in getting up from a chair or causes you to stumble.

Diagnosis:

In order to make a diagnosis, the physician may:

  • Look at your medical history
  • Perform a physical examination
    • To test: stability, sensation, strength, reflexes, motion.
  • Order diagnostic imaging
    • CT scans
    • X-rays
    • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans

Treatment:

In order to relive the pressure or pinching of nerves, the substance is causing it needs to be removed through surgery. It is really important that a patient with Cauda Equina Syndrome seeks medical attention immediately because surgery may prevent further damage to nerves that is irreversible and cannot be repaired.