Cauda Equina

Cauda Equina Syndrome Compensation

It is very common for people to suffer with lower back pain or sciatica. Usually, the symptoms can be alleviated with rest, physiotherapy, pain relief, or minimally invasive procedures. However, in some cases it is possible that lower back pain could be indicative of something much more serious.

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome?

The spinal cord is encased in the spinal canal. The Cauda Equina is a group of nerves at the base of the spinal cord which reach down into the pelvis. It has the appearance of a horse’s tail hence its name. These nerves control movement and pelvic organs including bowel, bladder and sexual function.

This type of injury is caused when the spinal canal compresses the nerve bundle, damaging it.

What are the causes?

It can be caused by a number of different problems including:

•Injury to the back or   spinal  cord such as a  fracture 

•Slipped disc

•Inflammation

•Spinal Tumour

•Infection

•Severe bony disease of the spine

•Spinal anaesthesia such as a lumbar puncture or spinal tap

•Congenital abnormality of the spine

What are the symptoms?

The condition can be very difficult to diagnose as the symptoms may appear very similar to other conditions such as sciatica and may vary in intensity, sometimes developing slowly over time.

The most common symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome include:

•Lower back pain

•Sciatica

•Muscle weakness of the legs

•Numbness in the legs

•Sensory disturbances

•Acute or chronic radiating pain

•Numbness in perineal area (near to your bottom)

•Bowel and/or bladder dysfunction

•Sexual dysfunction

Cauda Equina Syndrome can be very serious. Immediate medical intervention is required to avoid serious injury. Misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment could result in permanent debilitating disability such as paraplegia.

A failure to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome can give rise to the grounds required for bringing a compensation claim. Urgent surgical treatment is often required to restore bladder and bowel function and prevent further deterioration and neurological damage. The urgent provision and cost of treatment can be funded by responsible insurers who are responsible for paying a claim for damages.

Cauda Equina Syndrome Treatment

Where Cauda Equina Syndrome is suspected the patient should be treated as a medical emergency. Usually urgent surgery is required to decompress the nerves.

Other treatment options include prescribing antibiotics where the condition is caused by infection, or providing anti inflammatory medication or steroids to reduce the swelling.

MRI and CT Scans can be used to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome.

Some experts believe that in order for a patient to make a full recovery they must receive treatment with 24-48 hours of displaying symptoms. If the condition is left untreated for a long period of time, significantly higher levels of damage can be caused to the individual.

Compensation for mishandled symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome is often considerable and for example, can result from:

•Failure to adequately diagnose

•Failure to treat or provide the correct treatment

•Negligent surgical treatment

•Failure to recognise post-operative complications

If you feel that you have suffered loss or injury due to negligent treatment and you wish to pursue a compensation claim then you should contact a specialist clinical negligence lawyer for further advice.