Cauda equina syndrome is a serious condition in which the bundle of nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord (cauda equina) is squeezed. Cauda equina syndrome may be associated with bowel and bladder problems as well as tingling or a loss of sensation and feeling to the lower pelvic (perineal) area and the legs; these symptoms require immediate medical attention and probable surgery.
Cauda equina syndrome is sometimes caused by a herniated disc that breaks open (ruptures) into the center of the spinal canal and produces a fragment large enough to compress the entire cauda equina. Other problems with the bones of the spine may also cause pressure on this nerve area, which controls some of the leg muscles and the functioning of the bladder, intestines, and genitals.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma