At-Home Treatment for Cauda Equina Syndrome


What is cauda equina syndrome?

The cauda equina is a group of approximately 10 nerves and nerve roots located at the bottom of the spinal cord. They communicate with the brain to provide motor and sensory stimulation to the legs, pelvis, bladder, anus and bowels. Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare but serious disorder that occurs when this nerve bundle becomes compressed or inflamed. CES typically results in a medical emergency that requires urgent surgical intervention to prevent the possibility of long-term paralysis, damage to organs in the pelvic region, neurological issues, difficulty walking, and other physical problems.

At-home treatment for cauda equina syndrome

Prompt medical attention is needed to relieve nerve pain. Decompression surgery is required within 24 to 48 hours of onset of symptoms to reduce or eliminate pressure on the impacted nerves. Following surgery, leg pain, bladder or bowel dysfunction, low back pain, and other physical difficulties may be present.

At-home treatment for CES can help after surgery; however, it does not take the place of an emergency surgical procedure. It includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may be recommended by a health care professional to ease discomfort.
  • A catheter may be needed three to four times per day to completely empty the bladder until full bladder control is regained.
  • Adult diapers or protective pads are helpful if dealing with bladder or bowel incontinence.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and practice safe personal hygiene to prevent a urinary tract infection.
  • Glycerin suppositories or enemas may be needed to help empty the bowels.
  • Include family and friends in the recovery process for emotional and physical support.
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