There are a number of spinal conditions that an Osteopath will see from time to time that are not treatable. These conditions include Cauda Equina Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis and Spondylolithesis.
Cauda Equina Syndrome – This is a serious condition that requires medical intervention, it presents with numbness and pins & needles around the saddle area, that is the area that would be in contact with a bicycle saddle. There may also be pain and paraesthesia in the backside and legs. It can also cause incontinence. Cauda Equina Syndrome can occur to people of any age, and is usually the result of a serious disc prolapse.
Spinal Stenosis – spinal stenosis is generally seen in older people. There are certain reasons people are predisposed to spinal stenosis, the most common being a narrow spinal canal (trefoil shaped spinal canal). When a person develops osteoarthritis of the spine, the intervertebral discs will shrink in height, and this leads to a lack of space for the spinal cord, this in turn will compress the spinal cord and the nerve roots, leading to problems such as sciatica and neurogenic claudication (pain in legs with walking any distance).
Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disease that affects men more than women. It's usually diagnosed in people in their twenties or thirties. Ankylosing Spondylitis is an autoimmune disease, which causes back stiffness and pain. It's treated with anti-inflammatories and painkillers. The condition is a progressive.
Spondylolithesis as a condition where the vertebral arch is not fused to the vertebral body. This means that the spine is unstable at this level and the spinal cord can be subjected to a shearing force. A spondylolithesis is graded from 1 through to 5, and people who have a higher grade of spondylolithesis often require an operation to stabilise it. A spondylolithesis can cause paraesthesia, pain and weakness in the gluteals and legs.