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Spinal Canal Stenosis and Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The condition must be diagnosed and treated immediately, or the cauda equina nerves will be compressed and damaged, leading to serious neurological consequences.

If medical practitioners did not treat your spinal stenosis in time, resulting in cauda equina complications, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation. Please get in touch with us to find out more.

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the space surrounding the spinal canal narrows. Spinal stenosis can affect any area of the spine, but most commonly it occurs in the lower back – also known a lumbar spinal stenosis.

Spinal stenosis is caused by anything which causes a narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the space in the middle of the spine. The spinal cord sits in the spinal canal and runs from the brain to the lower back.

Spinal stenosis can be caused by:

Spinal canal stenosis from slipped disc

As mentioned above, spinal canal stenosis can be caused by slipped disc. Normally this will be a large central disc prolapse in the lumbar region of the spine at the L4/5 vertebrae. This can measure more than 1cm in diameter.

A large disc protrusion at the L4/5 vertebrae can cause marked central spinal stenosis. The significant narrowing of the central spinal canal will result in marked impingement on the theca. This can lead to impingement on the L5 root in the lateral recess in addition to other sacral roots within the theca – including the cauda equina nerves.

Nerve damage from spinal stenosis

When the spinal canal narrows and the nerves are impinged, it can readily lead to nerves damage. Indeed, the nerves are very delicate and any sort of compression will quickly cause them to suffer harm. If the cauda equina nerves at the bottom of the spine are affected, it will result in a condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency. If spinal stenosis leads to the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, no time should be wasted in taking a patient to theatre for surgical decompression. If doctors fail to achieve this standard of care and the patient is left with permanent neurological damage, there may be grounds for a compensation claim. Contact us today for more information.

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