Cauda Equina Syndrome


Though rare, acute cauda equina syndrome is a serious medical emergency. It usually requires decompression surgery on the spine within 24 hours, in order to remove pressure from the nerves.


1What are the initial symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome?
  • Back and leg pain
  • Weakness in the lower legs
  • Incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
2Why is it called Cauda Equina Syndrome?
The cauda equina refers to nerves found in a cluster in the lumbar region of the spine that resembles a horse tail. These nerves are responsible for sensation in the lower extremity (feet and legs), including bowel and bladder function and movement. Cauda Equina Syndrome arises when the cauda equina becomes compressed, which leads to numbness in the lower part of the body, weakness and loss of bladder and bowel function.
3How do you diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome?
The following diagnostic tests are used to identify Cauda Equina Syndrome:
  • Neurological examination
  • A comprehensive medical history of the patient
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Myelogram