Spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, can cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including pain, muscle weakness, numbness, spasms and tingling. When this condition affects the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, individuals may also experience neurogenic claudication, which is pain in the lower extremities associated with limping.
What causes spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication?
Both spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication are caused by a number of spinal conditions. Many individuals develop these conditions because of degenerative changes that occur as they age. Following years of wear and tear from everyday activities such as walking, sitting and standing, the spine can begin to deteriorate, making individuals susceptible to developing the following spinal conditions:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal arthritis
- Osteophytes (bone spurs)
- Bulging and herniated discs
These spinal conditions can cause the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, muscles, ligaments and other tissues to inflame and shift out of place, which can crowd space in the spinal canal. If a spinal nerve root (or the spinal cord) becomes compressed by these wayward elements of the spine, significant pain and discomfort can be experienced.
How to find relief
Many patients find relief from neurogenic and vascular claudication by sitting down or stooping. These activities tend to cause the spine to bend outward, which stretches the spine and can relieve compressed nerves. Other treatments, such as pain medications, physical therapy, hot and/or cold compresses, chiropractics and acupuncture can also provide relief. Individuals who fail to respond to these treatments after weeks or months may want to consider the effective outpatient procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. Contact us to learn more and for a review of your CT scan or MRI.