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Cauda Equina Syndrome from Infections of the Spinal Canal

Cauda equina syndrome can be caused in a number of ways, including by an infection of the spinal canal.

In this article we explore infectious causes of cauda equina syndrome in more detail, explaining how the condition might arise, what symptoms it will cause and how it should be treated.

Infectious causes of cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves are compressed and injured.

Compression is commonly caused by a prolapsed vertebral disc. However, that is by no means the only way in which compression can happen, with another possible source being an infection in or near the spinal cord.

When the body is faced with an infection, the immune system sends antibodies to the area in an attempt to kill the pathogens. This biological process has certain consequences, one of which is the inflammation of the surrounding tissue.

If the infection is within the region of the spinal canal, the swelling can press upon the surrounding nerves. If this includes the cauda equina nerves, it can result in nerve damage and cauda equina syndrome.

Furthermore, the tissue can become so damaged that it creates a hole. Pus can spill into this hole, resulting in an abscess. Again, if an abscess develops close to the cauda equina nerves, the mass can press upon the nerves and injury them.

To conclude, the ways in which an infection can cause cauda equina syndrome include:

Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome from infection

Patients with cauda equina syndrome can present in different ways, although generally the symptoms include:

Cauda equina syndrome that is caused by an infection may also make the patient feel unwell. Symptoms consistent with an infection include fever, aching muscles and fatigue.

Treating cauda equina syndrome caused by an infection

Ordinarily, the structure that is pressing upon the cauda equina nerves will need to be removed with decompression surgery. The treatment plan will be slightly different when it is caused by an infection as surgery may have little effect. Instead the infection must be treated with antibiotics. If an abscess is present, it may have to be drained with a needle.

This treatment must be provided without delay as cauda equina compression can quickly result in long-term injuries. If doctors delay in offering the correct course of treatment, there may be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact us to find out more.

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