Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina Syndrome is something we are always on the lookout for with low back patients.
Cauda Equina means horses tail and describes the spinal nerves at the end of the spinal cord that look like…you guessed it, a horse’s tail.
This is a rare condition, but serious as delayed treatment can result in permanent paralysis and impaired bowel/bladder function. It can be caused by a few things, including spinal stenosis, disc herniation, inflammatory conditions and infections.
These nerves innervate the lower limbs, as well as the anal sphincters. They also innervate the bladder parasympathetically.
When examining a patient, we also ask about bowel/bladder function, NTW, sexual dysfunction and saddle paresthesia. We will also test reflexes and muscles throughout the leg. It can be sudden or develop over days, Low Back pain that can have radiation into leg and other muscle weakness and altered feeling.
Treatment is referral to the ER for surgical decompression.
If you have any of the above symptoms, it is important to be assessed right away!