Cauda Equina is known as a group of nerve roots at the lower
end of the spinal cord.
What is Cauda Equina
The rare condition that affects
the nerve endings at the bottom of the spinal column which
can have severe consequences to a person’s mobility
if it is not dealt with immediately is known as Cauda Equina
This condition weakens the
nerves, which then receive electrical impulses sent from the
brain that permit the lower limbs and pelvic organs to carry
out they purpose properly. If this condition is not dealt
with, it can cause permanent paralysis, problems with the
bowel and bladder and impotency.
This condition can occur if a person has suffered a viral
infection, narrowing of the spinal canal or a slipped disc
which has not been treated. Also many spinal injuries are
bought on by a violent jolt or blow such as one might obtain
if involved in a car accident. Spina Bifida is a congenital
deformity (an abnormality in the closure of the spinal canal)
which can also play a part.
Symptoms of Cauda
This condition has an extensive
and altering mix of symptoms related to it but remember if
any of the symptoms below are experienced then you should
seek advice from your GP straight away.
• Stiffness when standing
• Tingling prickling feeling in the legs, buttocks,
thighs or feet
• Numbness or pain in the legs
• Bowel Dysfunction
• Bladder weakness
If any symptoms mentioned
above appear over a continued period of time you should visit
your doctor and give as much details as possible about the
nature of the pain and the symptoms you have been experiencing.
In some cases the condition
is only a temporary one that can be cured but for that to
happen you have to give your doctor as much information as
you can, that is very important. In these less serious cases
the myelin covering that surrounds the nerves can become damaged
so this can result in a temporary dysfunction, which can last
quite a few weeks to a number of months.
In the more severe cases,
the nerves (axons) be damaged but the good thing is that the
nerves that run to the muscles (motor nerves) can grow back
but this can be quite limited and can usually only be achieved
after having surgery.
Your doctor will examine you
and assess your stability, reflexes, ability to stand and
walk and also your muscle strength. Your doctor may also ask
for blood tests to be done and in severe cases a lumbar puncture
too, which is when a needle is inserted into the lower spinal
column to draw fluid for testing.
On top of this your doctor
may also need X-rays, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and
CT (Computerised Tomography) scans to try and put together
a more thorough picture.
Again it is extremely important
that if you believe you have any of the symptoms mentioned
that you contact your doctor at once so that he or she can
take the proper steps to try and limit the damage. It is vital
to remember that not only can this problem cause severe problems
with the spine and the lower limbs but it can have unpleasant
effects on the bowel, bladder, and sexual organs, which, if
not treated, can lead to almost certain paralysis.
It is also very important
to make sure that you continue sitting with the correct posture
in the workplace and if it is necessary for you to lift any
heavy objects then you do so in the proper way.