Cauda Equina Syndrome
(CES; Compression of Spinal Nerve Roots; Syndrome, Cauda Equina; Spinal Nerve Roots, Compression)
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- History of back problems, such as lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disk disease
- Birth defects, such as a narrow spinal canal or spina bifida
- Hemorrhages affecting the spinal cord
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Spinal surgery or spinal anesthesia
- Lesion or tumor affecting the spinal bones, spinal nerve roots, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
- Infection affecting the spine
- Manipulation of the lower back—rarely
- Severe low back pain
- Numbness or tingling in the crotch area known as saddle anesthesia/paresthesia
- Inability to urinate, or to hold urine or feces
- Inability to walk or dragging of foot
- Weakness, loss of sensation, or pain in one or both legs
- Sexual dysfunction; in men, the inability to maintain an erection
- Surgery options:
- Radiation therapy —If CES is due to cancer, radiation therapy may be an option.
- Difficulty walking
- Problems with bladder and bowels
- Sexual dysfunction
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Neurologist—doctor who specializes in the nervous system
- Incontinence specialist—if you have lost bladder control
- Bladder and bowel difficulties
Cauda Equina Syndrome Resource Center http://www.caudaequina.org
Spinal Cord Resource Center—United Spinal Association http://www.spinalcord.org
Canadian Spinal Research Organization http://www.csro.com
Spinal Cord Injury Canada http://sci-can.ca
Cauda equina syndrome. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00362. Updated March 2014. Accessed November 20, 2014.
Cauda equina syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 20, 2014. Accessed November 20, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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