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Cauda Equina
Disabled by Cauda Equina Syndrome

Disabled by Cauda Equina Syndrome

If cauda equina syndrome is not diagnosed and treated in time, the patient can be left with a catalogue of disabling and distressing conditions. If the delay was due to negligent medical care, the victim may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Why is the cauda equina significant?

The cauda equina nerves originating from the base of the spinal cord in the lumbar region of the back play a key role in receiving and sending messages between the lower part of the body and the brain. Specifically, they control sensation and movement in the saddle area of the buttocks and groin, as well as in the legs.

Consequently, if the nerves are damaged, their function becomes impaired and the effects can be wide-ranging and catastrophic because the brain will not be able to receive important messages nor send instructions to those parts of the body.

Bowel incontinence

When the cauda equina nerves become compressed, the patient will probably lose feeling around the buttocks and anus. They may retain some awareness of the need to empty their bowels but have very little time to reach the toilet. Or, where compression is severe, they may be unaware of the need to empty their bowels and be unable to control the release of faeces, essentially becoming incontinent.

Likewise, if the patient is unable to control the bowels, they may also be unable to prevent the release of wind.

Urinary Incontinence

The sufferer may also lose sensation in the bladder and urethra and fail to recognise when they need to urinate. They may retain urine for some time without being aware of this and release urine without control or feeling.

Foot drop

The cauda equina nerves enable the foot to be flexed and dysfunction of these nerves may mean an inability to raise the foot upwards, leading to a dragging foot or feet. This may make the patient dependent on crutches.

This effect can impact on either one or both feet. Where both feet are affected, it may be necessary to use a wheelchair.

Sexual dysfunction

A loss of sensation in the genitals may lead to an inability to experience feeling during sexual intercourse and an inability to achieve an erection.


Additionally, severe pain may continue in the lower back along with pain in one or both legs.

Long-term impact

As the above symptoms should indicate, suffering from cauda equina syndrome is likely to be a life-changing experience. With the combined limits imposed by loss of feeling in the legs and possible double incontinence, the sufferer may not be able to work again.

Many people with cauda equina syndrome also find that their personal and social life is dramatically limited due to the complexity and embarrassment of dealing with incontinence.

Maintaining a normal home life also frequently becomes impossible as adaptations may be necessary to the home in order to enable the sufferer to function. Carrying out everyday household chores can become problematic.

Medical Negligence

Suffering with cauda equina syndrome can be extremely difficult. Believing that this situation has arisen due to poor medical care is likely to add to the distress.

If you believe that your continuing cauda equina syndrome problems are due to a delayed recognition of your symptoms, you may wish to consider making a claim for compensation.

Contact Glynns Solicitors, specialists in medical negligence and cauda equina syndrome claims.

Please call us on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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