Most people will experience back pain at some point and for the most part such pain is likely to be minor in nature and capable of being managed and treated conservatively.
However in some cases, severe back pain may be a sign of something much more serious, and might indicate cauda equina syndrome.
Cauda equina is a rare condition affecting the nerves at the base of the spine, which are shaped like a horse’s tail (cauda equina in Latin). The treatment of Cauda equina is a time critical medical emergency and requires urgent surgical intervention to release the pressure that has built up at the base of the spine. Symptoms usually include some or all of the following…
If any of these ‘red flag’ symptoms present, medical advice suggests that you seek urgent medical assistance at your local hospital.
Cauda equina can be difficult to diagnose however and if surgery is not carried out quickly (preferably within 48 hours), the build up of pressure on the nerves can cause permanent and life-changing symptoms such as paralysis and damage to the bladder and bowel. Due to the fact that it is uncommon, cauda equina can be missed and often classed simply as back pain or urinary symptoms.
If you have or have suffered cauda equina syndrome and have concerns in relation to the diagnosis and treatment you received, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. This may be the case even if cauda equina was appropriately diagnosed as the timeframe for treatment may still warrant investigation.
If you, or someone you know, have any queries or concerns in relation to cauda equina you should seek legal advice to establish whether you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Claire McDaid is a Solicitor with the Litigation department of Worthingtons Solicitors and specialises in medical negligence. If you have any queries in relation to this article, please submit your query in the form below and a member of our litigation department will be happy to respond.