Neurogenic Claudication vs. Vascular Claudication

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Neurogenic claudication is a group of symptoms resulting from the narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis). The word “neurogenic” means having to do with the nerves, while “claudication” is Latin for “limping.” The symptoms are caused by the compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. As a result, pain, cramping, weakness and tingling can occur in the lower back and down one or both buttocks and legs.

What is vascular claudication?

Vascular claudication, on the other hand, is a condition involving insufficient blood circulation. While symptoms similar to those of neurogenic claudication may manifest, it’s actually the narrowing of the arteries in the legs that causes the symptoms – not the narrowing of nerve passageways.

The arteries are susceptible to hardening and narrowing as plaque, or fatty deposits, build up along the arterial walls. This hardening is called atherosclerosis, and the reduction of blood flow to the area is classified as peripheral arterial disease. Symptoms of vascular claudication can disappear after doing something as simple as standing up, allowing the constricted area more blood. Neurogenic claudication symptoms, however, may take a bit longer to subside and sometimes require more involved treatments, such as physical therapy and medication. In certain cases, sitting or bending forward at the waist to flex the spine may lessen pressure on nerves and ease neurogenic claudication symptoms.

Neurogenic claudication occurs mainly due to aging, the weakening of the intervertebral discs, and the resulting nerve compression. Vascular claudication may develop over time, but the related arthrosclerosis can progress faster and earlier in life for those with a diet high in fats and sugars, as well as other unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking.

Finding relief

You may be experiencing cramping, weakness and tingling in your buttocks and legs. If these are from neurogenic claudication, the orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute might be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain. Our minimally invasive procedures employ the use of advanced techniques to effectively treat neck and back conditions. Contact us today to schedule a review of your MRI or CT scan.