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Nerve root compression / CES but no back pain

Hello and best wishes

Well, 6 years on and still no real answers. The MRI taken at the hight of the problem identified stenosis and disc protusion but no reference to CES.

Cutting a long story short, I think it started following an innocent cycle ride, 6 Years ago. Lower back in agony. I had the pain in the rectum and the need to urinate often. Sexual dysfunction set in after about one Week.

I saw countless doctors who simply prescribed pain killers and rest. Over the next 3 Months, the back pain and rectum pain resolved. Bowel and bladder function seemed okay but sexual function impaired.

3 Years ago, whilst lifting a heavy box by mistake, I suffered severe left leg sciatica. Again, the need to urinate increased and I’m sure anal sphincter muscle became weaker. My left leg has also weakened and the muscles thinner.

I went to the Emergency at hospital but they more interested in how I got to hospital and not in the symptoms. I saw a back specialist and was discharged within a few hours. 2 Weeks after, I had an MRI and three Months later, the results. Again the physio ( not back specialist ) just confirmed that there had been a prolapse but also evidence of spine narrowing.

To- date, I have little back pain, but am aware that I would be in agony if I lifted a heavy item. I can walk normally for miles. I get some twitching in the left leg and occasional numbness and pain in the right leg. Sexual function is impaired. Bladder and bowel function appear okay but sometimes feel the need to urinate more often, less feeling and crampy bowel.

I think there is clear signs of nerve damage but with no back pain after 6 Years, it is difficult for me to get my doctor involved.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate your input



  • There are two types of CES , acute, usually due to a massive herniation, or compression caused by swelling in the lumbar area of the canal where the nerve roots pass through in the thecal sac.....and then there is what is termed "chronic" CES......which is me....I developed acute CES post op, after my first surgery, then a second case of it, at a higher level ( well three levels now L3-4, L4-5, and L5- S1.......but am now considered "Chronic" because it has been some almost 8 years.......
  • edited 04/30/2014 - 10:47 AM
    Thanks Sandi for your reply. Sorry to hear you are jumping 'through hoops'. Hope you get relief soon and you are in my thoughts.

    I seem to jump through hoops from one doctor to another. I seem to have some symptoms of CES but I realise that this could be connected to so many nerve type conditions. What surprised me is that the pain is a lot better if not absent, but the neurologic dysfucntion has not improved, possibly declined over the last 3 to 6 years.

    The MRI did not confirm CES at the time ( 3 years ago ) but I know I have a chronic situation on the horizon that came about 6 years ago, but there were signs as long as 10 years ago.

    No one at the hospital seemed alarmed and I ended on the three Month waiting list.

    I just need more options and I am seeing another doctor next Week. Will keep you posted

    kind reagrds

  • It is not at all surprising that the neuro symptoms are worse than the pain at this stage of the game......although I still have low back pain, the majority of the symptoms that I have are neuropathic as well but the longer the compression stays in place, especially when it comes to the nerves contained in the spinal cord (thecal sac) in the lumbar region, the less likely that there will be recovery.......This is why surgery due to Cauda Equina compression needs to be done so quickly....the severity of the compression, coupled with the fact that those nerves do not recover nearly as well as peripheral nerves do, leads to worsening neuro related symptoms, and less pain as time passes.
    Please do let me know how you make out.......as a fellow sufferer, I am always hopeful that things will improve for someone else with the same condition.
    Ask the surgeon about chronic ces.......but don't be surprised if they don't know the difference.
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