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Cauda Equina Syndrome

👤by AP 0 comments 🕔Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Cauda Equina Syndrome Cauda Equina Syndrome Symptoms

Medical Author: William C. Shiel, Jr., MD, FACP, FACRMedical Editor: Charles Davis, MD, PhD

Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include:

low back pain, pain in one or both legs that starts in the buttocks and travels down the back of the thighs, bladder and bowel problems (inability or difficulty to urinating, incontinence, constipation), weakness in the lower extremities and loss of sensations, numbness in the groin area, and reduced or absent lower extremity reflexes.

Cauda equina syndrome is an uncommon compression of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord within the spinal canal. The terminology, "cauda equina," literally means tail of horse and refers to the normal anatomy of the end of the spinal cord in the low back where it divides into many bundles of nerve tracts resembling a horse's tail. Compression of the spinal cord at this level can lead to a number of typical symptoms of the syndrome (low back pain, sciatica, saddle sensory changes, bladder and bowel incontinence, and lower extremity motor and sensory loss).

Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by any condition that results in direct irritation or pinching of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord. Causes of cauda equina syndrome include herniation of lumbar intervertebral discs, abnormal growths (tumor or cancer) adjacent to the lower spinal cord, localized infection near the spinal cord (epidural abscess, and localized bleeding (epidural hematoma) causing pressure on the spinal cord in the low back.

Localized lumbar tumors that can lead to cauda equine syndrome include ependymomas, metastatic cancer, and Paget's disease of bone. Localized infection near the spinal cord can be caused by staphylococcus bacteria, tuberculosis bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis from Pott's disease), and others.

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