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           Cauda Equina Syndrome


Cauda equina syndrome is a surgical emergency. Persons should seek immediate medical care or go to the emergency department if they believe they have symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. Some of the early symptoms related to cauda equina syndrome, including low back pain and muscle weakness, are more often caused by simple disk herniation, which does not require urgent attention. However, if you develop severe pain or loss of sensation or bowel or bladder disturbances, you should contact your physician immediately.

Your chances of regaining normal function and having a positive outcome are related to how long you have had symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. Most experts agree that people with cauda equina syndrome should undergo surgery to make more space for the nerves (lumbar decompression) within 48 hours in order to have the best chance for complete recovery.

Self-Care at Home

Cauda equina syndrome is a surgical emergency. Self-care at home is not appropriate for this condition.


Persons with cauda equina syndrome should have close follow-up with their surgeon to monitor any changes in function. Early surgery gives the patient the best chance for complete recovery from cauda equina syndrome.


Prevention of cauda equina syndrome is focused on early diagnosis by identifying the symptoms described above. While low back pain with leg pain and/or weakness is a common complaint that affects many people, cauda equina syndrome is a rare complication. Doctors should be vigilant in identifying these cases. People should be educated on signs and symptoms that could suggest possible cauda equina syndrome, including change in bowel or bladder function and loss of sensation in the groin.


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