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Exercise Therapy for Cauda Equina Syndrome

Updated May 10, 2017

Cauda Equina syndrome is a serious condition that impacts the nerves near the lumbar region of the spine. With Cauda Equina syndrome, pain and lack of function impacts both legs, and it may have an impact on bladder and bowel control. When Cauda Equina syndrome is diagnosed, surgery is required. After the surgery, light exercises help restore function and strength.

Build core strength

Build core strength by doing curls on an exercise ball. When you have injured your lumbar discs, you have to build up the muscles in the region that supports them. Using an exercise ball will help you build core strength. Sit on an exercise ball and find your balance point. Let your arms hang down and take 2-pound dumbbells in each arm. These light weights will ensure that you do not injure your back. Curl them to shoulder height 10 times each. Take a 30-second break and repeat the set.

Lower back flexibility

After you have surgery for Cauda Equina Syndrome, you need to improve flexibility in your lower back as well as increase strength. Doing wall push-ups will help you do both. Stand about 18 inches away from the wall put your hands up at shoulder height and support your weight with your hands. Bend your elbows until your chin is about 3 inches from the wall. Push back out and lock out your elbows. Do this 10 times, take a 30-second break and repeat the set.

Range of motion

After surgery you will also need to improve your range of motion in your hips and lower back. The lumbar bridge exercise will help you accomplish this. Lie down on the floor on your back. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle. Place your hands by your hips. Press up with your hands and your hips so your buttocks are about 10-to-12 inches off the floor. Hold for two seconds and then relax. Do this 10 times, take a 30-second break and repeat the set.

Build endurance

A lack of endurance is a byproduct of having surgery. Build your endurance on a gradual basis by lifting an exercise ball with your feet. Lie down on your back on the floor. Put an exercise ball by your feet. Grasp the ball and lift it with your feet so it is 6 inches off the ground. Hold it for two seconds and then relax. Do this 10 times and do not repeat. This is quite gruelling at first, and if you are exhausted after five lifts, stop there and gradually build your total.

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About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.