CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME
An extension of the brain, the nerve roots send and receive messages to and from the pelvic organs and lower limbs. Cauda equina syndrome (referring to the group of nerves extending from the lower spine and resembling a “horse’s tail”) occurs when these nerve roots are compressed, cutting off sensation and movement. Nerve roots that control the function of the bladder and bowel are especially vulnerable to damage.
If patients with cauda equina syndrome do not seek immediate treatment to relieve the pressure, it can result in permanent paralysis, impaired bladder and/or bowel control, loss of sexual sensation, and other problems. Even with immediate treatment, some patient may not recover complete function (AAOS, 2015).