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 itself can be caused by a range of underlying degenerative spine conditions. Any condition that causes spinal anatomy to 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 (lower) region of the spine 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 also occur in the hips, buttocks, thighs or feet. Specific symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Aches
  • Cramps
  • Discomfort
  • Fatigue

Treatment options for neurogenic claudication

Very often, conservative treatments are effective in managing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, including neurogenic claudication. Commonly recommended options include physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, pain medication, exercise and epidural steroid injections. The purpose of conservative treatments is generally to help manage pain, improve range of motion and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve overall spine health.

However, if these symptoms continue despite months of conservative therapy, spine surgery may be your next step for treatment. At Laser Spine Institute, 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 learn more about treatment options for neurogenic claudication. We can provide a free MRI review* to help you find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.