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Cauda Equina Syndrome Nerve Roots

The cauda equina is a bundle of nerve roots. The nerves begin in the lower back and extend through the pelvis and buttocks and into the upper legs.

What are nerve roots?

A nerve root is the first segment of a nerve which leaves the central nervous system. The central nervous system incorporates the spinal cord and the brain. The other nerves in the body are part of the peripheral nervous system.

Cauda equina nerve roots

There are various nerve roots across the body, one of which is the cauda equina nerves. The cauda equina nerves leave the spinal cord at the bottom of the spine, just below the conus medullaris.

The cauda equina, which consists of a bundle of nerves, spread out and downwards through the lower back, pelvis, buttocks and upper legs. Together they enable function and sensation in these body parts, including the pelvic organs.

Cauda equina nerve root compression

It is possible for the cauda equina nerve roots to become compressed. There are many ways in which this can happen, but perhaps the most common is a slipped disc at the L4/L5 and L5/S1 level. Other causes include spinal stenosis, spinal tumours and infection.

All nerves are very delicate and can become damaged when compressed. This is particularly true of the cauda equina nerves which will quickly become injured when pressure is placed upon them.

Therefore if something such as a slipped disc squashes the cauda equina nerve roots, they will be harmed. When nerves are damaged they will not be able to function properly and the affected individual will start to experience neurological dysfunction.

Cauda equina syndrome symptoms

When neurological dysfunction arises due to cauda equina compression, a person is said to have cauda equina syndrome. The symptoms associated with cauda equina syndrome are: lower back pain, difficulty urinating with poor flow and reduced sensation, sexual dysfunction, numbness in the buttocks, perineum and genitals, and reduced anal tone.

Treating cauda equina nerve root compression

A positive diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome can be achieved with an MRI scan. This provides very detailed images of the inside of the body and will establish whether compression is present.

When a diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome is made, treatment should be provided immediately. The only treatment for cauda equina syndrome is decompression surgery.

Delayed diagnosis and treatment of cauda equina compression

If your cauda equina nerve roots were compressed but doctors failed to make a diagnosis/provide treatment in a reasonable amount of time, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for more information.

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