Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.
Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.

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Elkhorn, WI

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What is cauda equina syndrome after a wreck?

Most people figure that if they walk away from a car wreck, they’re doing okay – but that’s not always so. Some injuries suffered in car accidents are not immediately obvious. The symptoms of some of these conditions can creep up on a victim hours or days after the initial injury.

Cauda equina syndrome may be like this. The cauda equina is actually a nerve bundle that is placed right at the base of your spine, and these can become damaged through numerous ways, not the least of which is a motor vehicle wreck.

What happens with cauda equina syndrome?

Generally speaking, most people who develop cauda equina syndrome after a wreck will have the acute (sudden-onset) form. That may be apparent right after the wreck, but it’s more likely to show up as the swelling increases around the nerves at the base of your spine. That swelling is usually caused by bruising from the blow you may have felt as you were hit by another vehicle and slammed back into your seat by your restraints.

You may suddenly begin to experience:

  • Urinary or fecal incontinence (or, the opposite: urinary and fecal retention)
  • The inability to tell that you need to go to the bathroom or unusual urgency
  • Weakness in your legs and feet and trouble walking
  • Numbness in the “saddle” area of your body, along you hips, butt and inner thighs
  • Intense pain in your lower back, hips and legs
  • Sexual dysfunction or numbness
  • Burning, tingling or a “pins and needles” sensation in your feet or legs

If you develop any of these symptoms following a crash, don’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention. Surgery is the only possible way to relieve the pressure on the nerves and allow them to heal.

Unfortunately, without proper treatment – done fairly quickly – any damage you have from cauda equina syndrome may become permanent. That makes it critical to make sure that you receive fair compensation for your losses so that you have the money you need to protect your future.

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