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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Lorie,

regarding our spine health loss of bladder control, this is one definition:

One who has sudden onset of bladder and/or bowel incontinence causing them to be unable to hold their urine, or even loss of rectal control, and/or progressive weakness in the lower extremities should seek immediate medical care. These are primary symptoms of a serious condition called Cauda equina syndrome. Symptoms include:

Severe or progressive weakness, numbness or altered sensation in the lower extremities - the legs and/or feet

Loss of or altered sensation in the area of your body that would sit on a saddle: inner thighs/between the legs, buttocks, back of legs, sacral region

Pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs that may cause you to stumble or have difficulty walking

This syndrome is caused by compression of the nerves in the lower spine, which can happen from trauma to the spine, any spinal condition that compresses the nerves such as disc herniation or spinal stenosis, or a spinal infection. Untreated, this syndrome can ultimately result in paralysis, as well as continued loss of sensation in areas below the lower spine.

I can tell you that when I had the facet joint injections, and they were done too quickly, causing too much pressure which bruised the spinal cord. My legs immediately felt like I had been sitting on the couch with my legs under me and were asleep. Naturally, when I attempted to get off the table, I plopped to the floor.

The hospital's anesthologist doing the injections said it was like going to the dentist and the feeling would be back in a couple of hours. That was a major lie! By the time the parking staff had managed to load me into the car and we headed by to my town and got into my drive, nearly 2 hrs were past and I still didn't have the feeling back. It was as we waited for the police to come help get me into the house that we saw that my clothes were wet. I had no control of my bladder! That was embarrassing enough, but at least I could be thankful later that it was just my mother and myself later when I found I had no control of my bowels either!!!

Here I was rolling back and forth across the floor in order to pull myself up into my office chair so I could contact the doctor's office again. I was bounced around as everyone wanted someone else to provide answers for 5 hours before I finally called the emergency room for the hospital where the test was done. When I spoke with them, they said to GET THERE IMMEDIATELY! Explained it would take me more than an hour to get there as I had to wait for the police to come load me into the car again, so they asked for an approximate arrival time, as I didn't carry a cell so was unable to call them as we approached.

All of this was the beginning of what got worse, and perhaps explains why I so strongly encourage people with more than a single herniated disc to seek out a spine specialist. You see, even through the following week + of hospitalization and therapy to regain the use of my legs as the swelling and bruising healed, not once did the ortho and neuro surgeons who ordered the test explain what had happened, and actually eventually laid it off to "mental hysteria" on my part. It seems that I was "too calm" when paralyzed and that it was "strange" that I had faith that the Lord would guide the doctors and I trusted that with their care I would recover.

Now, I worked with the military around airfields and field situations and in more than 28 years I dealt with all kinds of pressure and critical situations including several airplane crashes. I had dealt with brains and organs spread on the ground, with individuals being in total flames from jet fuel, and more. Factually, hysteria was not exactly my style. So, after the diagnosis of "hysteria paralysis" and their actions once I got out of the hospital, I think you understand why I sought out a true spine specialist. BTW, when I asked each of the spine specialists if they concurred with the diagnosis of hsyterical paralyzation, not even one of them agreed. When they looked at the films, they all said it was from the injection being pushed in too quickly and brusing of the spinal cord!

All that aside, I feel that it more prudent for an individual to get any loss of control of bladder and or bowels checked out immediately. Heck, if it is a temporary thing, or related to some other factor, that's okay, but isn't it better to seek treatment than to wait around and possibly incur additional or permanent damage? I would op for being cautious and would not hesitate to seek a second opinion if I did not improve according to whatever I was told. Truly, I don't ever want to experience that situation again, and even though I recovered, it woke me up to just how quickly and easily we can loose the feeling and/or the use of our legs or worse. That was reinforced when I found my spine specialist and he explained how short a time of nerves being compressed we can start loosing our chances for a full recovery. Yep, I want to avoid surgery, but I want my chances of a great outcome to be all it can.

So, if one has problems with some loss of control, get it checked out. If you aren't certain it is related to the spine, one can always start with their primary care provider, especially since some of our muscles do sag as we age. If that isn't the cause, then I'd head for the spine doc and find out what is going on.

Best wishes.





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