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Cauda Equina Symptoms
Can Cauda Equina Symptoms Come And Go

Can Cauda Equina Symptoms Come And Go

Can the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome come and go? In this article we explore the question in more detail, helping you better understand the condition.

Cauda equina symptoms

Cauda equina syndrome is when the cauda equina nerves, located at the base of the spine, are squashed and damaged. This compression is often due to a large slipped disc, although it can occur because of spinal tumours, infection and inflammation.

The nerve damage will cause a number of symptoms to develop. The symptoms of cauda equina syndrome are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatic pain in both legs
  • Numbness around the perineum, genitals and buttocks
  • Urinary dysfunction
  • Difficulty passing stools or incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction
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Can cauda equina symptoms come and go?

Sometimes these symptoms will appear very abruptly and the patient will immediately have complete cauda equina syndrome. This is where the patient has no bladder control or sensation.

In these cases, the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome will not come and go – they will be severe and will not diminish. Surgery can relieve symptoms, although with complete cauda equina syndrome there will be permanent problems.

Other times cauda equina syndrome will develop more gradually. The patient will have a period of incomplete cauda equina syndrome, where there is still some executive bladder control.

With incomplete cauda equina syndrome, the symptoms may feel like they are coming and going. However, it is more likely that the symptoms are actually progressing, rather improving. This is because the patient will often experience pain to begin with, but can then develop numbness. Therefore it will feel as though their pain has improved, but what has actually happened is that sensation has been lost because the nerves are so damaged.

What to do if you have the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome

If you have the symptoms described above, you must go to hospital as a matter of urgency. Do not be deterred by the feeling that your symptoms are coming and going. Not all patients will have a classic presentation of cauda equina syndrome. It can feel as though there has been some improvement, only for there to be a severe deterioration later on.

In hospital you should have a neurological examination and emergency MRI scan. If the scan confirms that the cauda equina nerves are being compressed, you must undergo emergency decompression surgery.

Failure to recognise cauda equina syndrome

If medical practitioners fail to recognise your symptoms as being cauda equina syndrome, meaning your diagnosis and treatment is delayed, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Contact us for more information.

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