Cauda equina syndrome is a condition that results from compression or pinching of the nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord (cauda equina). Cauda equina syndrome has multiple possible causes and can occur due to any condition that results in direct irritation of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord, including herniation of intervertebral discs in the low back, tumors adjacent to the lower spinal cord, localized infection near the spinal cord (epidural abscess), and localized bleeding (epidural hematoma).
Signs and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include low back pain, tingling or numbness in the legs or buttocks, weakness in the legs, and incontinence of bladder (urinary incontinence) and/or bowels (fecal incontinence). Numbness may occur in the distribution of where the body would touch a saddle when sitting upon a horse and is referred to as "saddle anesthesia."
Causes of cauda equina syndrome
Herniated vertebral discs, abnormal growths near the lower spinal cord, and localized infection near the spinal cord that puts pressure on the spinal cord can cause cauda equina syndrome.
Other cauda equina syndrome symptoms and signs
- Fecal Incontinence
- Low Back Pain
- Numbness and/or Tingling in the Buttocks and Lower Extremities
- Urinary Incontinence
- Weakness in the Legs
Main Article on Cauda Equina Syndrome Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Back Pain Quiz: Test Your Back Pain IQ
There are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain and only one ailment gets more complaints. What is it? Quiz your knowledge...
Back Pain: Common Spine Problems
That stack of little bones along the center of your back has a key role to support and control your body. What happens when...
Back Pain: Find Relief, Treat Your Back Pain
Back pain conditions are very common. Learn the truth and get the facts behind myths, remedies, causes and treatment for back...
Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief
Do you suffer from low back pain? Watch this slideshow to see common triggers of lower back pain and what kind of treatments you...
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter