Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Case study of good natural recovery from cauda equina syndrome 

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

If I developed the symptoms of impingement of the lower spinal cord, I would be a little freaked out. Numbness between the legs and failing leg reflexes are intimidating! 😱 And certainly “cauda equina syndrome” (CES) is not a condition anyone should take lightly. (Fortunately it’s quite rare.)

But, like so many other problems with the body, sometimes CES just goes away. Phew! 😌

Seth Petersen reported such a case. It took a while, and the patient was monitored for safety and given some basic help. But he just got better: quite a bit at first, and then more slowly over many months.

Case like this are what “watchful waiting” is for. You don’t just wait watchfully for every case. But this story is a good reminder that it can actually go quite well.

“Why Rush to Surgery? A Case Report of Safety Netting and Management of Suspected Cauda Equina Syndrome”
Peterson. JOSPT Cases. Volume 2, Number 4, 208–219. 2022.

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