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  • Do I need to worry about cauda equina?

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    Old 08-21-2014, 09:23 PM   #1
    speckopolis's Avatar
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    Red face Do I need to worry about cauda equina?

    Hi everyone,
    I'm new here, but anyway--- I am worried about having cauda equina syndrome. Here are my "specs."

    I am 44 years old. I was never in an accident, I just seem to be in rapid
    decline-- I do have DDD. Someone just pressed the ff >> button.
    I'm about to have my 4th back surgery.
    1st fusion surgery failed at L3/4 in January 2011
    and had to be redone in November 2011.
    At a checkup after that surgery, we noticed that I needed another fusion
    at L4/5. And that surgery was done in 2012.
    Now, at a checkup since that surgery, we have found that my whole spine
    is slipping forward at L5/S1. So basically my spine looks like a sloppy
    stack of poker chips about to collapse. Not only that, but my back is broken
    at the L5 vertebrae. I am still walking around, and not in serious pain, other
    than the normal pain (I am on morphine, oxycontin and Lyrica). My
    surgery was supposed to happen sometime in September 2014, ('m just
    waiting for the doctor to call me with the date.)

    SOOO ... right now what is going on is this:
    EXTREMELY sore left foot (I do have nerve damage in the left leg- along the shin bone from compressed nerves at L4.) This weird pain started in my big toe and is now including the next 3 toes and bottom of my foot. Sometimes, it hurts, and sometimes it feels numb-ish. I also have the pain down the back of my legs, and of course, lower back pain.

    My question is this:
    Lately (the last week) I have had a gas problem... and I have NO idea when I might pass gas! Lol... just walking down the street.. in the grocery store.... wherever. Somone on another post referred to this as "Booty terets" Lol..I love that one. I also have a very small amount of urine leakage at times lately. (this all started in the last week) I have NO trouble with solids, if you know what I mean. BUT with this all of my "trauma" being in the lower L5/S1 area, I am worried about cauda equina. Has anyone had experience with this? Do I need to run off to the emergency room, or just call the doctor?

    Any ideas/suggestions would be great! If you're a hater, don't bother-- I won't engage.


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    Old 08-22-2014, 08:57 AM   #2
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    Re: Do I need to worry about cauda equina?

    Welcome to the board. To the best of my knowledge, we do not have "haters" on our board.

    Anyone who has issues at L5-S1 should be aware of the symptoms of cauda equina syndrome. There are a couple websites devoted exclusively to this topic that will answer many of your questions, and I would encourage you to look for them.

    Generally speaking, the initial symptoms are dramatic...sudden muscle weakness, or sudden incontinence of bowel or bladder. Something like an ongoing small amount of leakage of urine could be related to nerve damage that is occurring now...but it is probably not as extensive as CES. I would mention this to your surgeon just to be sure....better to be safe than sorry.

    What you have going on at L5-S1 is called a spondylolisthesis. I imagine you have a pars fracture that has allowed the slippage to occur. What is your surgeon proposing? Will he add on to your fusion or revise all levels?

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