Neurogenic claudication overview

Neurogenic claudication is one of the most common side effects of spinal stenosis, a condition in which spinal nerves become compressed by narrowed pathways in the spinal column. “Neurogenic” indicates that the problem deals with a nerve, and “claudication” is derived from the Latin word for “limp.” This word is used because this condition is defined by weakness, cramping, discomfort and pain in the legs that can make it difficult to walk.

Though neurogenic claudication is a common result of spinal stenosis, spinal stenosis can be caused by many other degenerative spine conditions. Any condition that makes the spine protrude or misalign into the spinal canal can narrow the space within the spinal canal where the nerve roots travel. Once the cause of your nerve compression is identified, you can take the next step to finding treatment for pain relief.

Causes of neurogenic claudication

As mentioned before, neurogenic claudication often results from spinal stenosis, typically in the lumbar region of the spine (lower back) and develops over time as part of the natural aging process.

Over the years, the openings through which spinal nerves pass can become constricted with protruded disc material or bone spurs, sometimes due to other degenerative spine conditions. This can place pressure on the nerves, causing neurogenic claudication and other symptoms.

Symptoms of neurogenic claudication

The symptoms of neurogenic claudication are most often felt in the calves, but can present in the hips, buttocks, thighs or feet. The symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Aches
  • Cramps
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue

Treatment options for neurogenic claudication

Typically, conservative, nonsurgical methods of treatment are effective in managing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, including neurogenic claudication. Conservative treatments can include physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, pain medication, exercise and others. The purpose of conservative treatments is to relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve that is causing your pain without surgical intervention.

However, if these symptoms continue despite months of conservative therapy, spine surgery may be your next step for treatment.

At Laser Spine Institute, we allow our patients to approach spine surgery with peace of mind. Our minimally invasive spine surgery allows patients to experience a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, while benefiting from shorter recovery times^ and lower risks of infection and complications.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to see if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgeries to treat your neurogenic claudication. We can review your MRI report or CT scan and help you find the best treatment for your needs.