Cauda Equina: An Underestimated Cause of Disability

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When al.com, the internet news hub for people in the state of Alabama, reached out in October for stories of readers’ troubles applying for Social Security Disability, most of the conditions people responded with were familiar to most of us. One person was suffering from colon cancer, another from pancreatitis. Most of us know at least one person who has suffered from these terrible diseases. But one lesser known disorder was also mentioned, and it is a disorder more Americans need to become familiar with.

Cauda Equina Syndrome, a neurologic condition, has rendered a once strong Alabama construction worker completely unable to work, and it has taken years for him to qualify for Social Security Disability. The disorder occurs when damage to the Cauda Equina, a bundle of nerves in the spine, causes the nerve system to quit working. One of the most devastating aspects of the disorder is how quickly it moves from onset to debility, and how important early diagnosis and treatment is.

People should familiarize themselves with the symptoms, particularly:

  • Numbness of the inner thighs
  • Weakness in the lower legs
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Incontinence

Though it is important for people to educate themselves on as many medical conditions as they can, Cauda Equina syndrome is particularly important because of how important early diagnosis is. Unfortunately, many physicians across the country are dangerously uninformed about this condition, and by the time all the tests are done and the lab results come in, the window of opportunity for ideal treatment has already passed.

Experts recommend surgery to treat Cauda Equina Syndrome, and they recommend this surgery be performed in the first forty-eight hours. If you or someone you love has suffered from this disorder, and doctors didn’t diagnose you until it was already too late for you to benefit the most from treatment, please contact a lawyer to explore your financial options. As the construction worker in Alabama learned, it can often take years to receive Social Security Disability, and you don’t have years to wait to care for your loved ones.