Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) is a rare, yet potentially debilitating spinal condition.
The Cauda Equine consists of approximately 10 pairs of nerve roots that are located at the end of the spinal cord in the lumbosacral region. These nerves, which get their name because they look like a horse’s tail (see image below), are responsible for sending and receiving messages to and from the legs, feet and pelvic region. When the nerve roots that make up the cauda equina become pinched or compressed, weakness, numbness and potentially paralysis from the waist down along with the loss of bladder and bowel control will occur.
Diagnosing CES can pose a challenge as its symptoms, such as low back pain, vary and can develop over time. Also, low back pain, even of a severe magnitude, impacts many people of all ages, and is often due to much less serious conditions.
For those patients who become afflicted by CES, the timely diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment is essential to preventing debilitating and permanent spinal cord damage.