Tethered Spinal Cord: Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs and symptoms of spinal tethering?

Many cases of spinal cord tethering are identified in infancy because of the specific marks the condition causes on the skin of a baby’s back. In these cases, surgery can usually prevent development of symptoms.

When symptoms develop, the most common ones include back pain, leg pain, constipation, urinary dysfunction (urgency, frequency, accidents, recurrent urinary infections), foot deformities and scoliosis, a curving of the spine.

Once symptoms have already developed, surgery will typically stop back and leg pain. Other symptoms - particularly urinary problems - will usually stop getting worse after surgery, but they typically do not improve. Surgery will prevent any further damage, but it will not reverse the damage already done.