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The Painful Truth about Cauda Equina Syndrome

On Behalf of | May 25, 2016 | Spinal Cord Injuries

Virginia’s Spinal Cord Injury With An Interesting Name

You have a spinal cord injury called “cauda equina syndrome” (CES).  Cauda equina translates to “horse tail” but is not related to horses at all. It is simply the name of the bundle of nerves at the bottom of the spinal cord.  Unfortunately, an injury to the cauda equina resulting in CES is not simple at all. The cauda equina is responsible for sending and receiving messages to and from your legs, feet, and pelvic organs.

While many complain about lower-back pain in Virginia, CES is a very different kind of pain. Many with lower-back pain describe their pain as an ache or soreness. CES often sends people to the hospital emergency room, requiring immediate surgery. CES can have lasting damage, leading to incontinence or even permanent paralysis of the legs.

CES is often the result of a rapid injury to the spine caused by a ruptured disk in the lumbar area or severe impact to the lumbar region during a car accident or fall. While some experience excruciating pain right away, others experience CES as a slow progression. CES can also mimic other conditions, sometimes making diagnosis difficult.  The following are considered “common” symptoms, but are not experienced by everyone:

  • Severe lower-back pain
  • Pain, numbness, or weakness in one or both legs that causes you to fall
  • Loss of or lessening sensations in your legs, buttocks, inner thighs, back, or feet that progressively gets worse (also known as saddle anesthesia because it resembles the feeling of sitting in a saddle for an extended period of time)
  • Problems with bowel or bladder function
  • Sexual dysfunction

Within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, surgery is usually performed; but even then, permanent damage may have already occurred. Some patients never regain bladder control, use of their legs, or sexual function. Recovery can also take place over a period of years, requiring the use of:

  • Steroid treatments
  • Occupation and/or physical therapists
  • Social workers
  • Continence advisors
  • Sex therapists
  • Psychologists

CES is a life-altering condition and can be costly to your bank account and your emotional wellbeing. If your CES was the result of another’s negligence, contact the Virginia spinal cord injury attorneys at Shevlin Smith. Our Fairfax lawyers are ready to fight for you. Call 703-721-4233 today!