Unfortunately, I am totally familiar with Cauda Equina Syndrome and it's causes and effects on the body, but it doesn't make me an expert.
The Cauda Equina as Chutz explained are the lower lumbar and sacral nerves that exit the spinal cord from L1 down. Each pair of spinal nerves exits the spinal cord at each vertebral level. There are 26 pairs of nerves going down the spine.
The nerves in the Cauda Equina effect the low back, bladder, bowel, hips, private areas of males and females, the legs, and feet and can effect both sensory and motor nerves. You can have damage to a spinal nerve that is just sensory so that it can cause everything from mild disturbances in the things that you feel or don't feel to nasty stabbing, electrical shocks that seem to come out of nowhere and any combination that you can think of in between.
It can also cause motor disturbances - everything from twinges in the muscles from your low back to a complete failure of the nerve impulses that tell a muscle to contract or release. It depends entirely on the severity and location of the problem and what nerves it effects.
CES is a compilation of symptoms that together cause Cauda Equina Syndrome-
Cauda Equina Syndrome Symptoms
Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include the following:
- Low back pain
- Unilateral (single leg) or bilateral (both legs) sciatica (pain originating in the buttocks and traveling down the back of the thigh and legs)
- Saddle and perineal hypoesthesia or anesthesia (numbness in the groin or area of contact if sitting on a saddle)
- Bowel and bladder disturbances
- Lower extremity motor weakness and loss of sensations
- Reduced or absent lower extremity reflexes
Low back pain can be divided into local and radicular pain.
- Local pain is generally a deep, aching pain resulting from soft tissue and vertebral body irritation.
- Radicular pain is generally a sharp, stabbing pain resulting from compression of the nerve roots. Radicular pain projects in dermatomal distributions (along the specific areas controlled by the compressed nerve).
Urinary manifestations of cauda equina syndrome include the following:
- Difficulty initiating urination
- Decreased urethral sensation
Bowel disturbances may include the following:
- Loss of anal tone and sensation
If you think that you may have CES , then you need to be seen by a board certified spine surgeon immediately, not tomorrow, or next week but today. There is a very, very short window of opportunity to release the compression of those spinal nerves before the damage is likely permanent. And believe me, it is no fun living with the effects of a permanently damaged lower half of your body.
PLIF/TLIF Fusion w/Instrumentation L4-5 Spondololysthesis L4-5.Laminectomies L4-5, foraminal stenosis L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, herniations L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, central canal stenosis L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1
POST OP CES 3/30-06
Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel, bilateral numbness legs and feet
Revision for failed Back surgery, pseudoarthrosis L4-5, hemilaminectomies L3-4, L4-5, L5-S1, bmp added to revision fusion, replaced two bent screws that were reversing out of vertebrae - August 2, 2007
On going back pain and neuropathic pain, failed back surgery, consult for scs, decided not to do that at this point.
Adhesive Arachnoiditis also......just what I didn't need..9/08- adding bilateral ulnar neuropathy with severe compression to the mix. They want me to see a surgeon for ulnar nerve surgery, but I'm not biting.
I've seen enough surgeons over the last few years.
Avascular necrosis of left wrist- maybe hips too