What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome is an extremely rare neurological disorder which can be devastating. Whilst mainly occurring in adults, people of any age may be affected. The condition is caused by the compression of the nerves in the spinal cord, often as a result of, or associated with, a spinal cord injury.
The Cauda Equina nerves are situated at the base of the spinal cord, involved in the activity of the lower limbs and pelvic function. When these nerves become compressed, severe problems may be caused including bowel and bladder dysfunction, sensory abnormalities, paralysis, and sexual dysfunction.
What Are The Causes Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?
Cauda Equina Syndrome is caused when vast amounts of pressure cause the spinal canal to compress, which crushes the nerves in the spinal cord. Some of the most common causes include:
- Slipped lumbar disc sciatica
- Tumours: metastases, lymphomas, spinal tumours.
- Spinal Trauma
- Having a narrow spinal canal
- Bilateral sciatica
- Curvature of the spine, and spina bifida.
- Displacement of vertebrae
- Arthritis of the spine
- Following spinal manipulation treatment
Once the compression of the nerves has begun, the condition must be diagnosed with haste so that emergency spinal surgery can take place. Cauda Equina Syndrome develops extremely quickly, leaving only a short amount of time in which the syndrome is treatable before irreversible damage is done.
With this in mind, prompt action is imperative so that permanent damage may be avoided. Unfortunately, because the syndrome is extremely rare, medical professionals often dismiss Cauda Equina as a possibility, making the misdiagnosis that it is day–to-day back pain. If this happens, there can be life changing consequences, and you may have a victim of medical negligence, warranting a claim for Cauda Equina compensation.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cauda Equina Syndrome?
It can be difficult to recognise the initial symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome as they mimic symptoms of other neurological and spinal disorders. Signs that indicate you should consult a physician are as follows:
- Severe lower back disc pain.
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs, causing mobility issues
- Loss of sensations in your legs, buttocks, inner thighs, backs of legs, or feet that is severe or gradually worsening
- Unexplained bladder and/or bowel difficulty, such as trouble urinating or defecating
- Sudden sexual dysfunction
How Is Cauda Equina Syndrome Diagnosed?
As mentioned, diagnosing Cauda Equina Syndrome is difficult, not merely because the condition is so rare, but also because the symptoms are so closely linked to other similar conditions. A specialist will conduct the following procedures to confirm the presence of Cauda Equina syndrome:
- Full examination of medical history, to determine previous occurrences of spinal damage which might further complicate
- Physical exam to assess reflexes, stability, sensation, and motion
- MRI scan to test for spinal abnormalities
- Myelogram – a procedure whereby an injection containing a coloured material is administered into the spinal canal, showing any pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.
- CT scan
The longer Cauda Equina Syndrome is left untreated, the higher the risk of permanent damage being caused. It is thought that there is a window of 24-48 hours in which surgery must take place before the syndrome develops to a concerning extent. If the nerves are successfully decompressed within this window, the outcome for the patient will be positive.
Our Cauda Equina Syndrome Claims Experience
Our Cauda Equina syndrome solicitors understand better than anyone how spinal injuries misdiagnosed by medical negligence do not solely cause long-term health and mobility problems. They can also cause depression and other psychological symptoms as a result of being let down by a medical professional, and permanently debilitated because of it. Our medical malpractice solicitors have overseen hundreds of spinal injury claims, many of them pertaining to Cauda Equina Syndrome. Their experience means they can focus upon the pertinent clinical matters from the outset, gathering critical evidence to substantiate your medical claim.
At Asons, we take the time to thoroughly research and understand your situation so that we can secure Cauda Equina syndrome compensation which will support you – both now and in future. This may involve assessing any future treatment and care needs, any costs of adapting your home, purchasing mobility aids and the costs of other supportive equipment. We take all factors into account when preparing your Cauda Equina syndrome claim because this ensures the best possible outcome for you and your family.
We pride ourselves on our provision of first-class legal advice and support. Our team of specialist spinal injury solicitors have a wealth of expertise and knowledge, that you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Their years of legal service make it likely that they will have dealt with a case like yours in the past; meaning that they can focus on the most critical case matters from the outset. You need to be quick however, as there are strict time limits in place for making claims of this kind.
You may be worried about the possible costs in pursuing your claim; so we have advisory teams in place to help you secure all the assistance available to you. Whatever the situation, we are likely to find a way to help.