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What you should know about 'Cauda Equina Syndrome'

View profile for Carol Maunder
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What you should know about Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina Syndrome

Suffering from lower back pain?

Problems in your legs?

Dealing with incontinence?

The collection of nerves at the end of the spinal cord is known as the ‘cauda equina’, due to its resemblance to a horses tail. Their primary function is to send and receive messages between the pelvic organs and the lower limbs.

A result of these nerves being damaged can be Cauda Equina Syndrome - a condition which will, in most cases, be treated as a medical emergency because a delay in receiving the necessary surgical treatment could result in lasting damage such as incontinence and paralysis of the legs.

What causes Cauda Equina Syndrome?

There can be several potential causes, ranging from the most common being a ruptured lumbar disk, to complications from direct trauma such as a car crash. It is also possible it will occur as a result of a birth defect.

What are the symptoms?

People with back pain should be aware of the following “red flags” that may indicate Cauda Equina Syndrome:-

  1. Severe low back pain
  2. Weakness, lack of feeling or pain in one or both legs
  3. ‘Saddle’ anaesthesia (unable to feel anything in the body areas that sit on a saddle).
  4. Bladder retention or incontinence.
  5. Bowel incontinence.
  6. Sexual dysfunction.

What can be done?

An MRI scan is helpful for diagnosis. From the time at which symptoms begin to show, surgery should ideally occur within 48 hours to relieve the pressure being placed upon the nerves and maximise the likelihood of permanent damage being avoided.

Surgery may not be able to repair all damage however, especially if the symptoms have been showing for a while. The damage may be permanent by this point, in which case physical and emotional support will be required from sources such as therapists and carers.

Failure to recognise the significance of these ‘red flag’ symptoms by a medical professional could be negligent.

What if I am found to have Cauda Equina Syndrome?

It is likely that you will need support, physical aids and therapy. If it is found that your problems could have been avoided, you have the right to claim compensation to help pay for any costs involved in treatment you need, stress, pain, and damages for the irreversible change to your future life.

Members of the specialist Clinical Negligence Team at Dutton Gregory have been able to secure substantial sums  ranging from £90,000 to  £1,350,000 for people who have suffered from Cauda Equina Syndrome as a result of clinical negligence.

If you are suffering, or have suffered, from any of the symptoms or issues in this article, you can contact our us for confidential, free initial advice on your case without any obligation on 0800 5999 999 or at contact@duttongregory.co.uk.