The

Forest

Physio

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Medical Emergency: Cauda Equina Syndrome



A few weeks ago a 42 year old builder booked a consultation with me complaining of some lower back pain and sciatica in his right leg after lifting an awkward load at work. A few days later, after the consultation, he noticed that his leg and an area around his back passage had gone completely numb. He also started wetting himself.


Fortunately he knew what to do as we had covered this possible scenario during the consultation.


All medical professionals involved in Musculoskeletal medicine are trained to screen for, and warn clients about, the signs and symptoms of a rare but very serious spinal condition called Cauda Equina Syndrome.


This condition involves compression of the spinal nerves that supply the bowel and bladder, often caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine.


Compressed nerves supping bladder

Compressed nerves supplying bowel

Symptoms include:

  • SADDLE ANAESTHESIA: numbness around or under your genitals, or around your back passage

  • BLADDER: difficulty feeling when you need a pee, hard to start peeing, can't pee or can't control when you pee – and this isn't normal for you

  • BOWEL: you don't notice when you need to poo or can't control when you poo – and this isn't normal for you

  • SEXUAL: change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate and/or loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse


IF YOU OR ANY ONE YOU KNOW SUDDENLY DEVELOPS ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS LISTED ABOVE THEN

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU

ATTEND AN ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT AT YOUR LOCAL

HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY


Without EARLY intervention from a specialist spinal team, the possible consequences can be devastating including irreversible damage to your bladder and bowel function and sexual dysfunction.


Luckily my client went straight to A&E and underwent emergency spinal decompression surgery within 24hrs. He is doing very well and his prognosis looks very positive.


This is why it is so important to have your injuries checked by a trained medical professional.


SO IF IN DOUBT GET IT CHECKED OUT


By Jon Lewis (The Forest Physio)