Spinal injuries can be painful and draw your life to a screeching halt. Conus medullaris is a secondary spinal condition that can cause significant pain and other symptoms that affect your quality of life. When the lower end of the spinal cord becomes damaged, it’s possible to develop conus medullaris syndrome and even cauda equina syndrome as an aftereffect.
Learning how to identify the condition and get prompt medical care can help you find relief from your symptoms. Below is everything you need to know about conus medullaris causes and the available treatment options.
The conus medullaris refers to the lower end of the spinal cord that tapers off around the lumbar vertebrae. If you have an injury to this area or experience compressive damage, you could develop conus medullaris syndrome.
Generally, conus medullaris syndrome doesn’t cause paralysis like other types of spinal injuries. Instead, a person with conus medullaris may experience some of the following symptoms:
These issues can develop quickly and occur on one or both sides of the body. Even if people with conus medullaris don’t experience the complete range of symptoms, they may have back pain, strange sensations and bowel dysfunctions due to the condition.
The symptoms listed above don’t always indicate conus medullaris syndrome. However, these concerns typically raise suspicions in medical professionals, indicating a need for additional tests. If your doctor believes you may have conus medullaris, they’ll order MRI testing of your lower back and spine.
The MRI can detect a spinal cord injury and determine if it’s causing conus medullaris syndrome. Your doctor might also evaluate your muscle strength and reflexes or measure your symptoms on a scale to assess the level and extent of the condition. With thorough screening and symptom analysis, specialists can diagnose you with conus medullaris syndrome and recommend how to proceed with treatment.
Conus medullaris syndrome isn’t a disease that can develop on its own. Instead, it’s the result of a spinal injury or trauma. Some of the most common causes of conus medullaris include the following.
Since conus medullaris typically results from trauma, you must seek medical treatment as soon as possible after a spinal injury. However, you may not notice any symptoms immediately. Once you do, inform your doctor about your medical history. Prompt professional attention is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis and start treatment to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Once your doctor has determined the condition’s cause after testing, they can recommend the best treatment. Without early intervention, conus medullaris can become more severe and challenging to address, and the focus may shift to symptom management. Some conus medullaris remedies include the following.
If you or a loved one is dealing with conus medullaris syndrome or suspect you may have the condition, the professional team at DISC is here for you. We are an orthopedic spine center in the greater Phoenix area that uses cutting-edge techniques to help you find relief. We customize treatment to patients’ unique conditions and circumstances.
We always recommend the least invasive option, enabling many patients to have a shorter, more comfortable recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and how we can improve your quality of life.