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I Was Diagnosed With Sciatica When I Had Cauda Equina Syndrome

If you were wrongly diagnosed with sciatica when you actually had cauda equina syndrome, you could be entitled to pursue legal action against the negligent clinician or healthcare organisation.

To find out more about claiming compensation for a missed diagnosis of cauda equina syndrome, please get in touch with our team of cauda equina solicitors today.

Sciatica

Sciatica is also known as lumbar radiculopathy. It is a condition which causes symptoms of pain, tingling and numbness in the legs. These symptoms arise when something impinges or compresses the nerve roots as they emerge from the lower spinal canal).

The impingement or compression of the nerve roots can be caused by:

Sciatica will be very painful but will not result in devastating disabilities. Nevertheless it can cause permanent nerve damage, leading to loss of sensation and muscle weakness (with associated foot drop).

Making sure cauda equina syndrome is not mistaken for sciatica

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) states that a patient complaining of sciatic pain should be assessed for the red flag symptoms that could indicate a more serious cause – such as cauda equina syndrome.

If there are no clinical features that suggest a more serious underlying cause, medical practitioners may safely diagnose sciatica. However, this cannot be done until the patient has been asked about their symptoms and undergone a neurological examination.

This will verify whether the patient has the typical symptoms of sciatica, or whether other red flag symptoms are present. It will also reveal whether the patient has any numbness, paraesthesia, loss of anal tone, muscle weakness, or loss of tendon reflexes, all of which can point towards a more serious condition.

NICE categorises the red flag symptoms of cauda equina syndrome as:

Therefore if a patient is displaying any of these red flag symptoms, it is not safe to diagnose sciatica. Instead the patient should be admitted or referred for further investigations, depending upon the urgency of the situation. If there is significant reason to believe that the patient does have cauda equina syndrome, the situation should be considered urgent.

I was told I had sciatica but I had cauda equina syndrome

If your cauda equina syndrome treatment was delayed because doctors initially diagnosed you with sciatica, please get in touch with us today. You could be the victim of medical negligence.

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