Case Report

European Spine Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 128-131

Cauda equina syndrome and spine manipulation: case report and review of the literature

  • Francesco Ciro TamburrelliAffiliated withDepartment of Spine Surgery, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Roma Email author 
  • , Maurizio GenitiempoAffiliated withDepartment of Spine Surgery, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Roma
  • , Carlo Ambrogio LogroscinoAffiliated withDepartment of Spine Surgery, Università Cattolica S. Cuore, Roma

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Cauda equina syndrome seems to be a very rare complication of spinal manipulations. Only few cases, in fact, were referred in literature in the past decades. Most of them are very old and poorly documented evoking doubts about the pathogenetic relationship between the spinal maneuvers and the onset of the syndrome. We observed and treated a 42-year-old patient who complained a rapid onset of saddle hypoparesthesia and urine retention only a few hours after the spinal manipulation performed for L5-S1 herniated disc. The comparison of the two following MRIs performed before and after the manipulations seems to prove a close pathogenetic relationship. The patient was operated soon after the admission to our emergency department and 1 year later he referred an incomplete recovery of the syndrome. The case offered the opportunity to update the literature. The review revealed only three cases from the beginning of the current century that confirm the rarity of the syndrome. Based on the data emerging from the official literature, safety of the manipulations and its pathogenetic aspects in causing lumbar radiculopathies are discussed.


Cauda equina syndrome Spinal manipulations Herniated disc disease