YOU HAVE BACK AND LEG PAIN AND YOU HAVE RECENTLY READ ABOUT CAUDA EQUINA … WHAT IS IT AND SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE IT?
Please don’t forget that low back and leg pain together are a very common combination and on their own they are not a warning sign.
If you have low back pain, the nerves that leave your spine and supply your legs, buttocks, bladder and sexual organs. Therefore, irritation of these nerves can cause problems in the areas that they supply and most commonly you will experience leg pain, weakness or numbness.
The pain and distress that these three problems can cause is considerable but just because you have all three, please do not worry that you are about to develop cauda equina syndrome or that should go immediately to A & E for assessment when you have none of the problems listed below.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WORRY?
You need to be aware of the following as warning signs to monitor:
- SEVERE pain in BOTH of your legs
- Numbness in your genital region
- Leg numbness or weakness
WHEN YOU SHOULD GO TO A & E?
If you have any combination of the following symptoms it may indicate that you have Cauda Equina Syndrome and you should go immediately to A & E for assessment by their emergency specialist spinal team.
- Loss of feeling or pins and needles between the inner thigh
- Numbness in or around your back passage or buttocks
- Altered sensation when wiping with toilet paper
- Increased difficulty when trying to urinate
- Increasing difficulty to stop or control urination
- Loss of sensation when you pass urine or have a bowel movement
- Leaking urine or not being aware that your bladder is full
- Inability to stop a bowel movement
- Change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate
- Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse
ANY COMBINATION OF THESE SYMPTOMS NEEDS IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION.