Disease at a Glance

Summary
"Cauda equina syndrome (CES) refers to a group of symptoms that occur when nerves in the cauda equina (a collection of nerve roots that spread out from the bottom of the spinal cord) become compressed or damaged. These nerves roots connect the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. CES can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in the lower back, pelvic area and legs; ""foot drop""; problems with bowel or bladder control; sexual dysfunction; and even paralysis. CES is considered a medical emergency and requires hospitalization. CES is most commonly caused by a herniated disk in the lumbar spine. Other causes of CES may include a birth abnormality (such as spina bifida), a spinal infection or tumor, trauma or injury to the lower back, spinal stenosis, a spinal arteriovenous malformation, and complications after spinal surgery. CES can be difficult to diagnose since symptoms vary and they may mimic other conditions. Tests that may be used to diagnose CES include MRI, CT scan, and myelogram (a special type of X-ray of the spinal canal)."
Estimated Number of People with this Disease

This section is currently in development.

What Information Does GARD Have For This Disease?

Many rare diseases have limited information. Currently GARD is able to provide the following information for this disease:

*Data may be currently unavailable to GARD at this time.
Categories
When do symptoms of this disease begin?
This section is currently in development. 

Symptoms

This section is currently in development. We recommend speaking with a doctor to learn more about this disease. 

Causes

This section is currently in development. 

Next Steps

Talking with the Medical Team

Good communication between the patient, family, and medical team can lead to an accurate diagnosis. In addition, health care decisions can be made together which improves the patient’s well-being and quality of life.

Describing Symptoms

Describe details about the symptoms. Because there may be many different causes for a single symptom, it is best not to make a conclusion about the diagnosis. The detailed descriptions help the medical provider determine the correct diagnosis.

To help describe a symptom:

  • Use a smartphone or a notebook to record each symptom before the appointment
  • Describe each symptom by answering the following questions:
    • When did the symptom start?
    • How often does it happen?
    • Does anything make it better or worse?
  • Tell the medical team whether any symptoms affect daily activities

Preparing for the First Visit

Working with a medical team to find a diagnosis can be a long process that will require more than one appointment. Make better health decisions by being prepared for the first visit with each member of the medical team.

    Make informed decisions about health care: 
    • Prepare a list of questions and concerns before the appointment
    • List the most important questions first, not all questions may be answered in the first visit
    • Ask questions about symptoms, possible diagnoses, tests, and treatment options
    For future appointments:
    • Discuss what was not addressed at the last visit
    • Discuss changes in the quality of life for the patient, family, and caregivers
    • Discuss health goals and other issues in the patient’s and family’s life that may affect the health care decisions
    Take notes during the appointments to help remember what was discussed.

    Last Updated: Nov. 8, 2021