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Can Cauda Equina Symptoms Come And Go?

Can Cauda Equina Symptoms Come And Go?

Cauda equina syndrome can develop very slowly, in which case it may feel like the symptoms come and go. However, as soon as any urinary dysfunction is noted, it is vital that surgical treated is carried out before the condition deteriorates any further.

Can cauda equina symptoms come and go?

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves are compressed, resulting in neurological dysfunction.

Sometimes cauda equina syndrome will develop very abruptly. Normally there will be a significant traumatic insult and the nerves will be suddenly and severely damaged. When this happens, the patient often says they felt their 'back go' and immediately experienced the characteristic symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, which are:

  • Numbness around the buttocks, legs and perineum
  • Urinary dysfunction and retention
  • Bowel dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Leg weakness

Other times cauda equina syndrome will develop over a prolonged period of time. In such cases the initial symptoms can arise, such as back pain, sciatica, and tingling in the legs/perineum/buttocks. These symptoms may then remain the same for a long time, or they may even appear to improve.

But if a patient does indeed have cauda equina compression, their symptoms will inevitably deteriorate at some point. It is therefore very important that medical practitioners keep a close eye upon a patient's condition. If there is a change in symptoms and a patient reports the onset of other problems that indicate incomplete cauda equina syndrome, an emergency MRI scan should be arranged.

For instance, the onset of bilateral sciatica with tingling in the legs warrants an emergency MRI scan, as does urinary dysfunction with perineal numbness.

Failure to spot cauda equina syndrome

Therefore the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome may appear to come and go, or at least settle. However, medical practitioners must not be complacent. If a patient does report further symptoms, these should be noted and the clinical presentation considered afresh. If the symptoms do match those associated with cauda equina syndrome, immediate action is required even if the patient is thought to be in the early stages of the condition.

It is vital this care is achieved, because prompt decompression surgery is needed if the patient is going to make a full recovery. Without timely treatment, permanent neurological injuries will occur.

Has this happened to you?

If you have been left with permanent cauda equina syndrome because of delays in your medical care, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us to find out more.

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