What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome ?

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a rare disorder. But it needs immediate medical attention. We all are familiar with the nerve roots in the spinal cord. If anything happens and there is a consistent compression on these nerve roots, this condition occurs. The commonly affected area, in this case, is the horsed tail nerve root bundle. This area is present at the lower end of the spinal cord. If this syndrome occurs in any patient, it leads to complete paralysis of the lower body.

Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome

There are multiple causes for the occurrence of Cauda Equina Syndrome. The causes can differ from person to person according to their condition. Following are some of the main causes of this syndrome.

Ruptured Disk

The leading cause of this syndrome is a badly ruptured disk. Disk rupture can be harmful in any case because it starts to irritate the sensitive parts of the spinal cord. The sensations and messages from the brain can get easily interrupted, and a person can go into paralysis. If the disk ruptures due to any injury or accident in the lumbar area, it can cause this condition.

Stenosis

This is mostly considered the second reason for the occurrence of this syndrome. Stenosis is the narrowing down of the spinal canal. This can create pressure on the nerve roots. It will compress the nerve root bundle there. This will lead to the compression of these nerves. As a result, the person will present with this syndrome.

Spinal Lesion

It is often a spinal lesion or a malignant tumour in the spine that causes this condition. If a person is suffering from a spinal lesion or tumour, it can spread readily. Due to the interconnections of nerves, this tumour can transfer easily to the lumber-sacral area.

Haemorrhage and Fracture

Most of the cases present in an emergency have the leading cause of haemorrhage and fractures. An injury mostly causes these fractures.

Symptoms

There are some major symptoms when a person is experiencing this syndrome. Therefore, such symptoms must immediately be brought to the attention of medical health care professionals. Following are some of the most common symptoms of this condition.

  • Back pain with a severe intensity does not let the patient sleep or turn positions.
  • Numbness, pain, and excruciating weakness in the legs. Some patients also describe this weakness as a condition that does not let them stand up.
  • Patients also complain about being falling and come with a history of stumbling.
  • The patient might experience partial loss of sensation in the lower limb at the start. The sensations in the leg, buttocks, and hip region also change their path.
  • Problems with urinary retention and incontinence are most common in these patients.
  • Sexual dysfunction is the most common symptom of this condition, and it can occur at any moment.

Diagnoses

The diagnosis of this condition is extensive and demands expertise. Doctors will ask questions about health, work activities, and eating habits. Several important diagnostic tests are available to confirm the diagnosis. MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) is significant to create a three-dimensional image of the spine. This test shows the condition of the spine ad to observe if there is compression anywhere. A myelogram is the most important diagnostic test for this condition. It is similar to the X-ray of the spine, and it helps in pointing the position where compression is found. This test is usually performed after injecting contrast material into the patient's body. CT scan is also recommended to get a complete picture of the spinal cord and see to what extent this condition has caused damage.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for this condition completely depend on the cause of the problem. Usually, the treatment begins at the onset of the symptoms. Then, immediate surgery is performed to reduce the loss of sensations in the lower limb. Complete paralysis is also avoided by performing surgery. If the cause of this syndrome is a tumour, then radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the answers. If the doctor suggests that the cause is inflammation, the patient might need to stay on corticosteroids and antibiotics. For bladder control and proper sexual functioning, doctors may also consider surgery. Patients may also need to get themselves checked by a physiotherapist to manage their condition.

Cauda Equina Syndrome occurs because of the compression on the nerve roots. There are multiple causes of such conditions, including disk ruptures, fractures, and spinal lesions. Stenosis and haemorrhage in the spinal region can also cause this syndrome. Major symptoms of this condition include balder problems, pain in the back, loss of sensations in the lower back, and sexual dysfunction. A complete physical examination is important for diagnosing the issue. Tests including CT scan, MRI, and myelogram are highly recommended to diagnose the problem. Treatment options usually include surgery, the use of corticosteroids, and antibiotics.

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