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Tethered Cord Syndrome

What is Tethered Cord Syndrome?

It is a neurological disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column. These attachments cause an abnormal stretching of the spinal cord. This syndrome is closely associated with spina bifida.

Can physiotherapy help children with tethered cord syndrome?

Yes. Physiotherapists can educate patients on posture, gait, and functional movements when participating in recreational and daily activities in order to limit progressive tension on the spinal cord.

What are the causes of tethered cord syndrome?

  • Dermal sinus tract – a rare congenital deformity

  • Diastematomyelia – meaning split spinal cord

  • Lipoma – a benign and fatty growth

  • Tumour

  • Thickened/tight filum terminale – a delicate filament near the tailbone

  • A history of spine trauma

  • A history of spine surgery

What are the symptoms of tethered cord syndrome?

  • Lesion on the lower back

  • Fatty tumour or deep dimple on the lower back

  • Skin discoloration on the lower back

  • Hairy patch on the lower back

  • Back pain, worsened by activity and relieved with rest

  • Leg pain, especially in the back of legs

  • Leg numbness or tingling

  • Changes in leg strength

  • Deterioration in gait

  • Progressive or repeated muscle contractions

  • Leg deformities

  • Spine tenderness

  • Scoliosis – a curvature of the spine

  • Bowel and bladder problems

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