Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

Cauda Equina Syndrome

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 16/2/2015

Cauda Equina Syndrome is caused by the compression and swelling of nerves in the bottom of the spine and a narrowing of the spinal canal. It gets its name from the Latin, “horse’s tail," because the nerves at the end of the spine look like a horse’s tail.

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious condition affecting the lower back

Cauda Equina Syndrome is a serious medical emergency that requires urgent treatment.

Symptoms Not To Ignore

Typical symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome differ in intensity and onset, and can occur suddenly or more gradually, developing over a few weeks or a few years.

Symptoms of sudden onset of Cauda Equina Syndrome are typically marked by some, or all of the following:

  • 1. Compromise of bladder or urethral sensation
  • 2. Compromise of rectal or anal sensation
  • 3. Difficulty in passing urine
  • 4. Retention of urine
  • 5. Urinary or faecal incontinence associated with “saddle” anaesthesia (the area of the body that would sit on a saddle: inner thighs/between the legs, buttocks, back of legs, sacral region)
  • 6. Decreased anal tone and dribbling incontinence


Conservative treatment consists of bed rest, pain relief and muscle relaxants. The vast majority of people will settle with such treatment. However, if there is any sign at all of a Cauda Equine palsy or a failure to improve with conservative management then surgery is absolutely essential.

There is a lot of controversy in the literature with regard to the timing of surgical intervention but it seems that the timing of surgery, on balance, does influence the eventual outcome.

Serious Complications Lead To Life Changing Injury

If there is a failure to diagnose and treat Cauda Equina Syndrome quickly, then this could result in you suffering permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, difficulty walking, and/or other neurological and physical problems.

When injuries such as these are caused by the negligent administration of epidural anaesthesia, our lawyers may be able to assist with a compensation claim that will help the injured person and her family secure the support and care that they need.

Upcoming Event

The Cauda Equina Syndrome UK Educational Conference 2015 will take place on Wednesday 20th May 2015 at Sheffield Hallam University.

This one day conference will discuss different aspects of NHS treatment and care available for CES patients, including bladder and bowel management, occupational therapy, psychology, physiotherapy, pain management, medico-legal issues and more.

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