It is very common for people to suffer with lower back pain or sciatica. Usually, the symptoms can be alleviated with rest, physiotherapy, pain relief, or minimally invasive procedures. However, in some cases it is possible that lower back pain could be indicative of something much more serious.
What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
The spinal cord is encased in the spinal canal. The Cauda Equina is a group of nerves at the base of the spinal cord which reach down into the pelvis. It has the appearance of a horse’s tail hence its name. The Cauda Equina nerves control movement and pelvic organs including bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Cauda Equina Syndrome is caused when the spinal canal compresses the nerve bundle, damaging it.
What can cause Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome can be caused by a number of different problems including:
Injury to the back or spinal cord such as a fracture
Severe bony disease of the spine
Spinal anaesthesia such as a lumbar puncture or spinal tap
Congenital abnormality of the spine
Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda Equina Syndrome can be very difficult to diagnose as the symptoms may appear very similar to other conditions such as sciatica and may vary in intensity, sometimes developing slowly over time.
The most common symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome include:
Lower back pain
Muscle weakness of the legs
Numbness in the legs
Acute or chronic radiating pain
Numbness in perineal area (near to your bottom)
Bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
Cauda Equina Syndrome can be very serious. Immediate medical intervention is required to avoid serious injury. Misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment could result in permanent debilitating disability such as paraplegia.
A failure to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome can give rise to the grounds required for bringing a compensation claim. Urgent surgical treatment is often required to restore bladder and bowel function and prevent further deterioration and neurological damage. The urgent provision and cost of treatment can be funded by responsible insurers who are responsible for paying a claim for damages.
Treatments for Cauda Equina Syndrome
Where Cauda Equina Syndrome is suspected the patient should be treated as a medical emergency. Usually urgent surgery is required to decompress the nerves.
Other treatment options include prescribing antibiotics where Cauda Equina Syndrome is caused by infection, or providing anti inflammatory medication or steroids to reduce the swelling.
MRI and CT Scans can be used to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome.
Some experts believe that in order for a patient to make a fill recovery they must receive treatment with 24-48 hours of displaying symptoms. If the condition is left untreated for a long period of time, significantly higher levels of damage can be caused to the individual.
Compensation for mishandled symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome is often considerable and for example, can result from:
- Failure to adequately diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Failure to treat or provide the correct treatment
- Negligent surgical treatment
- Failure to recognise post-operative complications
If you feel that you have suffered loss or injury due to negligent treatment and you wish to pursue a compensation claim then please contact the specialist team of lawyers at Headinjuryuk.com for further advice.