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Cauda Equina Syndrome

NevadagNNevadag Posts: 1
edited 01/13/2016 - 7:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone!
I feel so blessed to have found this sight. I am a 38 year old female in great health until I needed emergency surgery last week for a large herniation of disc L5-S1 that caused a rare neurological problem called Cauda Equina Syndrome. The good news is I am not paralyzed and my bowel and bladder function has returned to normal. My right leg is still weak and I feel odd numbness on the top and side of my right foot as well as the side of my right calf above the ankle. Today I am at home having home PT services and walking as much as I can with a walker. I had been having lower left back pain for a little over a year that never radiated down my leg. Massages, heat, advil, and stretching seemed to do the trick so I never paid it much mind. This past week while at work all of a sudden I felt excruciating right sided lower back pain that went down my whole right leg. The pain was so bad I was barely able to make it home. Needless to say I did not realize anything was seriously wrong and that I had not urinated all day. I was unaware that I had no sensation in my saddle area. When I woke up the next morning I realized I had lost my bladder and fell getting out of bed because my right leg was paralyzed. A friend of mine rushed me to the ER where the doctor recognized right away what was happening. I had an MRI and was transferred to another hospital to have emergency neurosurgery. The great news and what is a complete miracle is my neurosurgeon expects me to make a full recovery because this was caught so quickly. I feel very upbeat and have a positive outlook about being able to fully recover. I was wondering if there is anyone else on this sight with a similar experience ? I would be interested in hearing your story of recovery as I am finding there is not a lot of information on Cauda Equina Syndrome. Thank you for reading my post!
Nevada Gray


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi - I was diagnosed with Cauda Equina in April and had emergency surgery. My bladder function came back after surgery and I've been working on my leg. I still have some big deficits but can now walk without a cane and drive. Uneven surfaces were hard for a long time but I can manage them fairly well now. I have gained none of the sensation back...still numb in foot and calf. I've gotten use to the lack of sensation mostly. I'm still not able to wear high heels - thinking that will never happen due to weakness in my ankle. Physical therapy has been very helpful. Using a nerve stimulator helped me to gain eversion (turn out) back on my foot. I also couldn't lift my leg when I was laying on my side and now I can. I've found a lot of ways to compensate for my weakness and though there are several things I cannot do (run, for example) my daily life looks very much the same as it did before so I am thankful about that.

    Keep doing therapy and know that results are very slow but steady!

  • Hello,
    I was dx in 2009 with cauda equina, having emergent surgery also. I regained bladder control, but still to this day, have right leg weakness.
    The discectomy turned out to be too aggressive, and I had a L4-L5 fusion less than a year afterwards.
    Unfortunately, I have 2 areas above the fusion that have slipped with a 38 degree curve. Three opinions later and they are all suggesting I need a T9 thru s1 fusion.
    My original neurosurgeon had told me-- where you are at 1 year is usually the best you wil get (post-op). Not sure if I agree with him.
    Best of luck and nice to meet you.
  • I know its normal to have some constipation with all the medication ( yes I know about colace) but did anyone find that they had bowel issues ? best I could say is no feeling or strength if you were told to push like during labor could you?
    This can't be happening
  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 492
    I have found a helpful technique for slight constipation, it didn't help with the slowing down of bowels from medication though.

    They make and sell those small step stools to put your feet up on while sitting on the toilet. I don't have the stool, but I have tried raising my legs/feet up to where they could be if I had one......and the results at times are amazing.....has something to do with natural body position for eliminating; childbirth.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 01/14/2016 - 10:30 PM
    I, also, read about using a stool while on the toilet..with same explanation you said of position allowing more ease of passing the stool.

    After my primary's suggestions were ineffective, she referred me to GI specialist to help with my chronic and severe constipation.
    Before I was on opiate type meds, I had ischemia of large intestine..and my gut is a mess since.
    Im sure the meds I'm on now do not help the issue.

    Part of my issue is low motility..and have a difficult time having stomach contents to my small intestine and to even get that peristalsis working enough to get the stool to large intestine.
    There seem to be all kinds of issues to cause the constipation. My experience.

    There are so many things that can be helpful that were not available even eight years ago....my experience.
    As the GI doc I saw back then did not prescribe anything more than the colace and such as my primary has.

    My son made me a little stool while he was in junior high..to help his petite mom reach top shelves. :)
    I now have that stool in my bathroom and use it whenever I us the toilet.
    I've been so shocked at being able to pass stool, not only more easily, but also, going without even having feeling for the urge to go.
    That's why I just use it all the time.

    My gut is still a mess and issue for me...but relaxing my body by raising and resting my feet onto my little stool has been quite the pleasant surprise.
    So glad I continued to read that article that initially I thought to be so silly.

    Wow....I never thought I'd share that experience with anyone..but here I am...
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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