The lower earlier residences the terminal end of the spinal cord and also mostly encloses the cauda equina—nerve roots that descfinish from the spinal cord. The spinal cord and the cauda equina are delicate and also vital frameworks. The spinal canal created by the lumbar vertebrae protects these structures by offering a solid, bony casing.

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Lumbar Spinal Cord

The spinal cord terminates in the lumbar spine. The specific point of termicountry varies among individuals; a lot of typically, it terminates at the level of the L1 or L2 vertebrae. A few anatomical frameworks pertained to the lumbar spinal cord are highlighted listed below.

Conus medullaris

The terminal percent of the spinal cord in the lumbar area is cone-shaped and is called the conus medullaris.

The conus medullaris is made up of numerous neurons (nerve cells) and has 3 protective layers. Starting from the outermany layer, these are the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and also pia mater. The pia mater tapers and continues dvery own as the filum terminale at the finish of the conus medullaris.1


Filum terminale

The pia mater creates a fragile, fibrous strand of tissue referred to as the filum terminale that extends down from the conus medullaris. This strand also stabilizes the spinal cord by connecting the conus medullaris to the coccyx (finish of the spine).1

Thecal sac

The dura mater and also arachnoid mater are jointly referred to as the dural sac or the thecal sac. This sac covers the conus medullaris, cauda equina, and also each individual spinal nerve root as it courses out of the cauda equina and also travels right into the intervertebral foramen (bony opening with which the nerve exits the spinal canal).2

Lumbar cistern

The area inside the arachnoid mater is filled with cerebrospinal liquid (CSF). Below the conus medullaris, this space is enlarged. This enlargement is referred to as the lumbar cistern and consists of CSF, the filum terminale, and also the cauda equina.2

The Cauda Equina

A group of nerve roots that take a trip down from the spinal cord and also the conus medullaris is referred to as the cauda equina. The cauda equina contains nerve roots from L2 in the lumbar spine to Co1 in the coccygeal (tail bone end) spine.1 Each nerve root from the cauda equina exits the spinal canal at its corresponding vertebral level, for instance, the L4 nerve root exits between the L4 and L5 vertebrae.

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Spinal Cord and Cauda Equina of the Lumbar Spine

Problems Related to the Lumbar Spinal Cord and Cauda Equina

The terminal tissues of the spinal cord in the reduced ago deserve to acquire compressed, irritated, or abusually extended and frequently cause severe clinical difficulties. Possible problems affecting this area together with the certain symptoms, signs, and causes are defined listed below.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

The cauda equina is created by the extension of nerve fibers beyond the spinal cord. Compression of the cauda equina, such as by a herniated disc, may reason severe pain and also numbness in both legs. Read even more about Cauda Equina Syndrome

Conus medullaris syndrome

Compression of the conus medullaris in the lumbar region at L1-L2 (typically between T12 to L2) reasons conus medullaris syndrome. This syndrome is defined by the complying with indications and symptoms1:

Sudden onset of major back painNumbness about the anal regionWeakness that occurs symmetrically in both legsSudden onset of bowel and also bladder dysfunctionThe most widespread causes of conus medullaris syndrome incorporate spinal fracture, disc herniation, tumors, trauma, and also collection of pus in the epidural area because of infection (epidural abscess).1

Conus medullaris syndrome is a clinical emergency and requires instant therapy to keep leg feature.

Tethered cord syndrome

An abnormal filum terminale can change the stcapacity of the conus medullaris and proccasion its normal activity in the spinal canal. This problem is dubbed tethered cord syndrome and also reasons the spinal cord to get abnormally stretched, especially during actions such as spinal flexion (bfinishing forward).1 Common indications and also symptoms include3:

Urinary dysfunction: Increased urination or retention of urineUrinary tract infectionsBack pain, which is increased while bending the spine forward and relieved while bending the neck backwardConstipation

While this condition is commonly established during durations of rapid growth in adolescence, the symptoms may not occur till adulthood. Usual causes of tethered cord syndrome are split spinal cord (diastematomyelia), spinal cord lining problems (dermal sinuses), and lumps of fatty tissue in the spinal cord region (lipomas).1

Cauda Equina Syndrome Video

Cauda equina syndrome

Compression of the cauda equina within the lumbar cistern deserve to cause serious symptoms in the lower body. The problem is called cauda equina syndrome and presents with the adhering to indicators and symptoms4:

Numbness of the inner thighs (saddle anesthesia)Urinary retentionLoss of bowel and/or bladder controlSevere reduced ago painSciatica-like shooting and burning pain in the leg(s)A feeling of pins-and-needles in the leg(s)

Cauda equina syndrome have the right to present in 2 ways: acute oncollection, wbelow the symptoms and also signs take place swiftly, and also insidious oncollection, wright here the problem starts as reduced ago pain and also slowly progresses to bowel and also urinary incontinence.4

Read even more about Cauda Equina Syndrome Symptoms


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Cauda equina syndrome is many generally led to by compression from a lumbar herniated disc. Compression might likewise occur because of tumors, cysts, stenosis (abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal), or trauma. Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency. Immediate treatment is vital for the avoidance of paralysis and conservation of leg function.4

Read even more about Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome

If any kind of of these spinal cord associated problems are suspected, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately. Spinal cord disorders may be treated nonsurgically or surgically depending upon the cause and also the as a whole wellness of the patient. The prognosis rises substantially once treated early on.

See When Back Pain May Be a Medical Emergency