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Early Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome must be treated in the early stages if complications are to be prevented. Therefore it is essential medical professionals recognise the early symptoms of the condition.

Early signs of cauda equina compression

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord are compressed. Amongst other things, compression can occur due to a slipped disc, a tumour or inflammatory conditions.

The nerves are extremely sensitive, so when they come under pressure they will be damaged very easily. This will cause lower back pain, which is usually the very first symptom of cauda equina syndrome. Compression will also impair the function of the nerves, leading to the other early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. These include:-

Spotting the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

The aforementioned symptoms are called the ‘red flag’ symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. They are so-called because together they should act as a clear warning sign, alerting medical professionals to the possibility of spinal nerve compression.

Any patient who presents with the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome should immediately be suspected of having cauda equina compression. An examination should quickly be undertaken to check whether there are any other clinical features that support this initial diagnosis. This should include:

If an examination and the blood/urine tests all point towards cauda equina syndrome, an urgent MRI should be carried out to verify if the nerves are being compressed, and if so, what the underlying cause is.

Failure to recognise cauda equina compression

Any reasonably competent medical professional should be able to recognise the early symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. This should ensure a timely diagnosis is made and emergency treatment is given, thereby giving a patient the best chance of making a full recovery.

If doctors fail to recognise the early signs of cauda equina syndrome and this causes a costly delay in treatment, there could be grounds for a medical negligence claim. Contact us today to find out more.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300, from a mobile click to call 01275 334030 or complete our Free Online Enquiry for a no cost, no obligation opinion.

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