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

  • Francesco Ciro TamburrelliEmail author
  • Maurizio Genitiempo
  • Carlo Ambrogio Logroscino
Case Report


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 


Conflict of interest

None of the authors has any potential conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Ciro Tamburrelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maurizio Genitiempo
    • 1
  • Carlo Ambrogio Logroscino
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Spine SurgeryUniversità Cattolica S. Cuore, RomaRomeItaly

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