Medical Q&As

Cauda equina syndrome

Do you know what cauda equina syndrome is?

The term cauda equina is derived from the Latin and literally means a horse's tail. It refers to a collection of long nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord, which can be crudely compared in appearance to a horse’s tail. The cauda equina syndrome is a disorder of that collection of nerves. It is a rare condition that I have never encountered in twenty years of general practice. It usually arises as a complication of other diseases. It results in pain in the legs and buttocks and can lead to incontinence due to loss of sphincter control. Sensation can be lost in the saddle area. The reflexes in the legs are also affected. My knowledge of this syndrome is very limited therefore I am unable to give you further information on the likely outcome or possible treatments. A neurologist would be the best person to advise on those specific issues.