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How to Treat a Tethered Spinal Cord

  • Category: Spine Conditions
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: DR. HAMID ABBASI
How to Treat a Tethered Spinal Cord

A tethered spinal cord is a serious medical condition that primarily impacts children. Tethered cord syndrome needs to be addressed and treated as soon as possible to avoid future complications from the condition. This article will go over the signs and symptoms of tethered cord syndrome and the available treatment options for the condition.

Definition of a Tethered Spine

Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a condition in which the spinal cord becomes attached or “tethered” to the tissues surrounding the spine – usually at the base of the spinal column. This typically happens to young children as their bodies develop. Symptoms of a tethered cord can include any of the following:

  • Pain in the back or legs

  • Numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation below the waist

  • Bladder or bowel control issues

  • Trouble walking or standing

If you notice any of these signs in your child, make an appointment with a spine specialist right away to address the condition and take steps toward treatment.

Surgery for Tethered Cord Syndrome

Thankfully, a tethered spinal cord can be treated with relative ease if it’s caught early enough. The first step in treating a tethered cord is accurate diagnosis of the condition through diagnostic imaging techniques (MRIs, CT scans, etc.). Once a diagnosis has been reached, treatment involves surgically untethering the spinal cord. After surgery, patients may need to undergo physical therapy to regain full mobility and control if the tethered cord caused any nerve damage.