Living with Cauda Equina Syndrome

By Zoe Diss

MRI of the back of the vertebral section, hernia in the intervertebrates close-up

Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a rare and serious condition. It affects the nerves at the lower end of the spinal cord. We call these nerves the Cauda Equina.

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention and intervention. It typically occurs due to the compression of the cauda equina nerve roots, which are responsible for transmitting sensory and motor signals to the lower extremities, bladder, and bowel.

The compression can be caused by various factors including herniated discs, spinal tumours, spinal stenosis, trauma, or infections.

Different types of Cauda Equina Syndrome

There are two main types of Cauda Equina Syndrome:

  • Acute CES: This type of CES develops suddenly and progresses rapidly. It often requires emergency surgery to relieve the compression and prevent further damage to the nerves. Severe symptoms characterize acute CES from the onset of the condition.
  • Chronic CES: Chronic CES develops gradually over time, usually due to a slowly progressing condition like spinal stenosis or a tumour. The symptoms may be less severe initially but then can worsen over time if left untreated. Chronic CES often requires surgical intervention to alleviate the compression and manage the symptoms.

Jason Brady, Medical Negligence Partner was able to secure compensation after signs of Cauda Equina Syndrome were missed.

Radiologist doctor checking xray

Cauda Equina Syndrome red flags and early symptoms

Recognising the red flags and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome is crucial in order to deliver a timely diagnosis and effective intervention.

Some of the red flags include:

  • Sudden and severe lower back pain (it is important to note that not all cases of lower back pain indicate CES, but the presence of red flags should warrant immediate medical attention to rule out the condition).
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control.
  • Progressive leg weakness.
  • Saddle anaesthesia (loss of sensation in the buttocks and inner thighs).
  • Sexual dysfunction.

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Cauda Equina Syndrome – Life Expectancy and long term effects.

Without prompt treatment, Cauda Equina Syndrome can lead to long-term complications and potentially affect a person’s quality of life.

Some of the long-term effects may include chronic pain, mobility limitations, loss of bladder and bowel control, sexual dysfunction, sensory deficits, muscle weakness or permanent paralysis, and psychological impacts such as depression and anxiety.

CES itself does not directly impact life expectancy. However, the underlying causes or associated complications, if not properly managed, can lead to health issues that may indirectly affect life expectancy.

People with CES need proper medical care and ongoing support to improve their overall health and well-being.

Treatments for Cauda Equina Syndrome

The primary treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome is surgical decompression, aimed at relieving the pressure on the affected nerve roots.

The surgical procedure for treatment will vary depending on the cause and severity of the diagnosis. Some cases require emergency surgery, while others undergo elective surgery for chronic CES.

Physical therapy, pain management, and assistive devices may also be part of the treatment plan to address associated symptoms and promote functional recovery.

Suffering from Cauda Equina Syndrome?

You could be entitled to significant compensation

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How does compensation help someone living with Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Living with CES can be challenging, impacting a person’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being.

If you have been afflicted with the condition because of substandard care or neglect of duty of care on the part of medical professionals responsible for your health, you may be eligible to make a no win, no fee cauda equina syndrome compensation claim.

Compensation helps people with CES by giving money for medical costs, treatments, rehab, assistive devices, and lifestyle changes.

Blackwater Law is a reputable law firm that specialises in personal injury and clinical negligence claims. They have a group of skilled lawyers who can give legal advice and help people seeking compensation for CES.

Compensation from a claim can ease financial burdens and provide the best care and support for people with CES.

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