Dr. Jeffrey I. Kennis,  D.C.
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Posts for: October, 2017

No matter if you’ve lived with chronic lower back pain for 1 year or 10, there are certain experiences that most lower back pain sufferers have in common.

See Types of Back Pain

lumbar spine and musclesLower back pain can be caused by a variety of problems with any parts of the muscles, nerves, bones, discs or tendons in the lumbar spine. SeeLower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

The type of pain and the location of your lower back pain will help your doctor form a treatment plan.

See Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain

Here are four experiences that help sum up living with chronic lower back pain—and we hope you’ll share this list with your friends and family so they can better understand your condition.

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1. Waking up in the middle of the night

Unfortunately, chronic lower back pain doesn’t keep to your schedule—so you’re often jarred awake by your pain during the middle of the night. Not only is this a frustrating experience, but it can also make your pain worse. That is, your chronic lower back pain

Certain nights are better than others—but one of your biggest desires is for a few nights of uninterrupted sleep.

See Sleep Aids for People with Chronic Pain

2. Difficulty standing up

This next experience can feel embarrassing. After a few hours of sitting around a table with friends, you find that you can’t stand up—at least not right away. Going from a prolonged sitting position to a standing position can cause excruciating pain, and you often need a few minutes to loosen up your muscles before you can leave a chair.

Back Muscles and Low Back Pain

You’re sometimes worried that people think you can’t stand up because you’re lazy or out of shape. But the fact of the matter is that you struggle to stand up because of a condition that is beyond your control.

Watch Causes of Lower Back Pain Video

3. People assume you’re all better

Your friends and family might mean well, but they can be all too eager to proclaim that you’ve been cured. In fact, it seems like every time they catch you smiling or laughing they assume that you no longer struggle with chronic lower back pain.

Types of Back Pain: Acute Pain, Chronic Pain, and Neuropathic Pain

But you know that the truth is some days are simply better than others. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it, but on Monday you might feel mostly pain free—and on Tuesday you can barely get out of bed. Also, you don’t allow your pain to dictate your mood—so a smile doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re pain free.

Depression and Chronic Back Pain

4. Doctor’s visits, lots of doctor’s visits

Sometimes it feels like you spend more time at the doctor’s office than in your own home. You’ve seen all kinds of specialists—surgeons, physiatristsphysical therapists—and you’re on a first name basis with most of them at this point.

See Specialists Who Treat Back Pain

You’re not a hypochondriac, and you certainly don’t like spending time at the doctor’s. But between diagnosing and treating your chronic lower back pain, doctor’s visits are simply a consistent part of your life.

See Diagnosing Lower Back Pain

I hope all of the experiences described above will help your friends and family better understand the reality of living with chronic lower back pain.


By Stephanie Burke
October 24, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
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Cauda equina syndrome occurs when your cauda equina, a bundle of nerve fibers at the bottom of your spinal cord, is pinched or irritated. This aggravation can be caused by a number of disorders, including a herniated disc, a tumor, spinal stenosis, or inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis.

See Spinal Tumors and Back Pain

Cauda Equina SyndromeYour cauda equina nerve fibers are responsible for the control of your bladder.
Watch:
 Cauda Equina Syndrome Video

Our video walk through can help you better understand this rare ailment that is considered to be a medical emergency.

See Cauda Equina Syndrome

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Video highlights

Cauda equina anatomy
Pictured below is the lumbar area of your spine (commonly referred to as the lower back). Your nerves are pictured in purple.

See Causes of Pain in the Lumbar Spine

Lumbar Spine

Your spinal cord runs from the base of your skull to the top of your lumbar spine. As it reaches your lumbar spine, it branches into several nerve fibers, known as the cauda equina, which continue throughout your lower body.

See Spinal Anatomy and Back Pain

Lumbar Spine

Your individual nerves exit through small holes in your lumbar spine called foramina (pictured above). Your sacrum, legs, and feet are innervated by the individual nerves from this part of your spine as they run downward throughout your body.

Watch Lumbar Spine Anatomy Video

Cauda Equina Nerve Fibers

These nerves communicate sensory and motor nerve messages between your central nervous system and your pelvis and lower limbs. They are responsible for the control and sensory function of your bowel, bladder, genitals and saddle area (where your body would touch a saddle if you were riding a horse), and your legs.

See Anatomy Of Nerve Pain

Causes of cauda equina syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome can be caused by any condition in your lower spine that compresses the nerves in your lumbar spinal canal.

See Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is often caused by disc herniation.

The most common cause is a massive disc herniation in your lower spine, shown above. Less common causes include tumors, spinal stenosis, inflammation, infection within your spinal canal, or an injury to your spine.

See Lumbar Herniated Disc: Causes and Risk Factors

Symptoms
Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome often vary. They may come on suddenly, or they may occur gradually over many years—depending on the degree of nerve irritation.

See Cauda Equina Syndrome Symptoms

The cauda equina communicates sensory and motor nerve messages between the central nervous system, pelvis, and lower limbs.

Common symptoms include:

  • Severe low back pain
  • Neurological problems in your saddle region
  • Urinary or bowel incontinence
  • Motor weakness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Paralysis

See Lower Back Pain Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Your main takeaway from this walk through should be that acute cauda equina syndrome is a rare but serious medical emergency which usually requires decompression surgery on the spine within 24 hours. If left untreated, it can result in paralysis, loss of sensation below your lumbar spine, and permanent loss of bladder and bowel control.

See How Decompression Surgery Is Performed