A short time ago I carried out a poll to establish the most common cause of Cauda Equina Syndrome with our members. The results were clear that the most common cause was disc herniation.
In my continuing quest for complete understanding of Cauda Equina Syndrome I was interested to look at why these discs herniate and cause problems.
An important factor to consider is that at this part of the spine we have the lumbar spine's lowest two spinal segments, L4-L5 and L5-S1. These vertebrae take the most weight as they are lower down the spine. (Just so im clear in my explanation..the vertebrae are the bony segments of the spine..the discs are inbetween these segments)
So their role is to support the weight of the entire torso/upper body. L4/5 allow a significant range of motion and at L5-S1.. this joint allows for considerable rotation, so that the pelvis and hips may swing when walking and running..
When we refer to L4/5 it means the Lumber region at the vertebrae 4 and 5 which has the disc in between them. When we refer to S1, it means the sacral region at 1 (the sacral area sre the segments below the lumber region). Both illustrated on the diagram below.
It is no surprise then that these discs are more susceptible to degeneration and injury...L4/5 is described as the shock absorber for the spine.
The most common cause of Cauda Equina Syndrome is due to lumber disc herniation at this large central disc level that then goes on to cause compression of the nerves that branch off to the lower extremities, the bladder and bowel, sexual function, buttocks and perinium.
This image shows the vertebra (spinal segments) discussed in this thread and the nerve roots branching off which is referred to as the 'horses tail' within the cauda equina.
I have added a poll, just to see which discs mostly caused the problem for our members...please feel free to add any comments/replies
Sources of information for this thread: here and here