Causes of neurogenic claudication

Neurogenic claudication — a term literally meaning nerve-related limping — often originates in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. This condition is characterized by cramping, pain, weakness and tingling in the buttocks and legs, which usually becomes evident when walking or standing. Neurogenic claudication is often a result of lumbar spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region. Spinal stenosis can cause nerve compression on the spinal cord or the nerve roots and may result from several different spinal conditions.

If you or someone you know is being affected by this condition, becoming a more educated patient or care partner is an important part of the treatment process. Neurogenic claudication can be extremely debilitating, affecting everything from a good night’s sleep to family time, but finding lasting relief is possible. Learning about the causes of this condition can help you work with a doctor or specialist to find treatment that offers a return to a healthy, active lifestyle.

What spine conditions cause neurogenic claudication?

Spinal stenosis is usually related to the natural aging process. With age, parts of the spine, especially the discs and joints that allow movement, can dry out and become brittle. This makes the spine less able to withstand the pressures of supporting the upper body, especially when combined with contributing factors like weight, repetitive movements or traumatic injury. The result can be spine disorders that displace spinal components from their normal places and narrow the already tight nerve pathways in the spine. Here are some of the more common degenerative spine conditions that cause spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication:

  • Bulging discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis

If you are experiencing pain

With some or all of these factors in place, the collection of symptoms known as neurogenic claudication — pain, cramping, weakness and tingling in your lower back and in one or both sides of your buttocks and legs — may appear. Usually, symptomatic relief can be achieved by sitting down or bending forward at the waist. Upon diagnosis by your doctor, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications and chiropractic adjustments may also help to relieve symptoms.

If symptoms do not improve after several weeks and surgery becomes an option, contact us at Laser Spine Institute. Traditional open spine surgery has many risks and difficulties, including overnight hospitalization, risk of infection and a long, sometimes painful, recovery period. Minimally invasive spine surgery is an alternative. By using a less than 1-inch incision which spares supporting muscles, our board-certified surgeons+ can treat the underlying causes of neurogenic claudication with an outpatient procedure that has less risk of complication than traditional open neck or back procedures.

We offer a no-cost MRI review* to help you determine if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.