Treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome

Once the diagnosis of Cauda Equina Syndrome is made and the cause established, urgent lumbar decompression surgery is required. The aim of the procedure is to release the compression on the affected nerves to give them the best chance of recovery. Left untreated, CES can result in permanent paralysis and incontinence.

CES Made Simple

Lumbar decompression surgery

The aim of Lumbar decompression surgery is to release the compressed nerves so they aren’t damaged further. The nerves will have the best chance of recovery if this is carried out within 24 hours.

What happens if I don’t have surgery?

If left untreated, or not treated in good time, Cauda Equina Syndrome can result in permanent paralysis, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, pain and fatigue along with mental health issues.  While it isn’t a life-threatening condition, the consequences of not getting treatment will have a massive impact on the person and their family.


Recovery after surgery is dependent on many factors and each individual case will follow a unique path.  The next few months after surgery are important for recovery, however there can be gains over many years that are more subtle. There are a number of therapies available to help patients.

Specialist advice on rehabilitation is essential and ongoing monitoring should help to ensure that an individual achieves their full potential.

Physical & Psychological Therapy

The aim of rehabilitation is not only to maximise the physical recovery of an individual, but also to help with any psychological effects the experience has had on the person and their family. 

A wide range of healthcare professionals will make up the rehabilitation team, which will include physiotherapists, occupational therapists and mental health professionals.

Regaining mobility and function should be managed by physiotherapy experts that will tailor programmes to each individual. 

The psychosocial impact should be  by specialists who are well versed in helping patients adjust to any changes that need making and will talk people through the process of recovery along with possible outcomes.

Psychosexual therapy

Amongst other hidden life changing injuries, cauda equina syndrome can also leave patients dealing with lifelong issues around sexual function, sensation and fertility issues for patients.

With a lack of NHS provision to help support patients and loved ones come to terms with a “new self” the charity is providing dedicated therapy for couples to help them explore new ways of enjoying intimacy and sex after this life changing injury.

Working with psychosexual expert therapists Michelle Donald and Sue Lennon, patients are offered Introductory Sessions with one of these remarkable ladies and the opportunity to engage with a course of therapy when they feel able to do so that is funded by the charity. Find out more here.

Our Services

We have a range of free services to support people affected by cauda equina syndrome. Our charity has created these services in response to the needs of patients with CES. Read more and find out how you can access them by visiting our Services page.