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
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.
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
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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