Chronic back pain is one of the most common complaints that doctors receive. It’s no surprise given that are always roughly 65 million Americans who have experienced a recent bout of semi-chronic or acute back pain and about eight percent of adults live with some degree of chronic back pain.
Many adults understandably assume a few hot compresses, Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter remedies are the safest and easiest way to cope with back pain. The spine is an extremely complicated part of the body, and there are dozens of potential causes for back pain. While some of those sources do respond well to non-invasive over-the-counter pain management, others don’t.
One of the rarer but more nefarious sources of back pain is cauda equina syndrome (CES). Cauda equina syndrome represents a potentially serious problem and some patients may even require surgical intervention to recover. Every situation is unique, and less invasive pain management strategies may also provide relief.
The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves at the bottom of your spinal cord. They are vital for controlling your lower extremities and organs. These nerves send signals from the lower limbs and pelvic organs to the brain and are responsible for providing motor and sensory functions in the legs and bladder.
Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by a variety of factors, including a slipped or herniated disc, tumor, infection or a narrowing of the spinal column. Many of these conditions result in the nerves being pinched. The extra pressure causes the nerves and the connected parts of the body to function poorly.
If you are suffering from cauda equina syndrome you will experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms that may evolve or worsen over time. Early cauda equina syndrome diagnosis and treatment is the best way to minimize the impact of the condition.
Cauda equina syndrome can be difficult to diagnose in part because many conditions manifest similar symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek prompt medical attention:
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction or incontinence
- Altered or loss of sensation in the lower extremities (legs, buttocks, feet and heels)
An orthopedist or back pain specialist should start any consultation by asking you to describe your pain and your medical history. Be as detailed as possible about what you’re experiencing and any past back pain or chronic pain problems you’ve suffered in the past. They will also ask you to move around and replicate the actions that cause you the most pain, and the positions in which you experience relief. Both are important for narrowing down the potential culprit.
The best treatment for cauda equina syndrome will vary depending on the cause. In some cases, an orthopedic spine doctor may need to surgically remove whatever is causing pressure on the cauda equina nerves.
The effectiveness of cauda equina syndrome surgery or non-surgical treatment methods may vary depending on the root cause of the pressure and the speed with which the condition was diagnosed and treated.
Following surgery, some patients continue to experience issues with bladder and bowel dysfunction and altered or loss of sensation in their lower extremities. Discus your experience with a spine doctor for assistance managing your condition.
Get Treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome
If you are suffering from cauda equina syndrome or the symptoms your experiencing seem to match CES, you should seek a professional diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Cauda equina syndrome can worsen over time and negatively impact your life.
AllSpine Laser and Surgery Center has multiple locations in Georgia. We have been helping people resolve their back pain issues for over two decades. Our team of expert spine doctors and staff can help you find the right treatment for your back pain, including treatment for cauda equina syndrome. Contact us at 770-997-0600 to schedule your first visit or learn more about our services online.