Post by Lαrα on Jan 25, 2014 4:53:45 GMT -8
Hey Guys..I know that when i first was given the news that I had Cauda Equina Syndrome I had no understanding of why this affected me in the way it does.
I can remember asking my physio to explain to me why some parts of my lower extremities had sensation more that others and why some muscles were weaker than others.,,,why is my bladder, bowel and sexual function affected?
She explained a little but to be honest, not in a way that made enough sense to me. I searched for more understanding....from questioning and researching, gradually my understanding built up but i am always looking for more understanding and clarification.
So why does Cauda Equina Syndrome affect each of us differently?
Cauda Equina Syndrome commonly causes weakness and sensory loss to the lower limbs, the 'saddle area' and significantly affects the bladder, bowel and sexual function.
The symptoms and signs vary depending on the rate and extent of the compression, the size of the spinal canal, and the number of nerve roots involved. Because the sacral roots lie closest to the midline in the cauda equina, they bear the most damage.
A large central disc herniation, for example, would cause significant damage and symptoms including severe pain which is often worse at night.
The diagram below shows the "horse tail" that is often referred to in Cauda Equina Syndrome.This is in reference to spinal nerves within the vertebral canal. After the spinal cord tapers out, the spinal nerves continue as dangling nerve roots called cauda equina.
You will see on the diagram an aqua blue arrow that is pointing to a line that runs across the spinal nerves. This is representing an area that is compressed across the nerves. There is a black faint line above the arrow, this is showing the area the disc would be. It is situated in between L3/L4 vertebrae. Therefor the nerves below that are affected are those at the point of compression. As you can see several nerve roots are affected.
A factor in severity of longterm symptoms will depend on several factors. As many of us are aware, in the case of Cauda Equina Syndrome early intervention is crucial at the onset of symptoms.
Take a look at the illustration below..It shows which nerve roots affect the lower extremities. It will also explain why for many of us different muscles are affected more than others and why altered sensation differs in different areas.
For myself...my damage was at the point of L4/L5 disc so at the areas shown below on L3 are unaffected for me.
Sensation is affected everywhere except the for the 'strip' down the front of my legs where it is relevantly normal. My left leg is weaker then my right leg which will indicate that the nerves to this leg had more significant compression.
This video, although graphic, explains very clearly what happens at the point of compression and why we are affected differently....its a must watch!
Click to view video - www.inspiredsciforum.com/thread/629/unfixed-spinal-cord
Sources: Here and Here