Neurogenic claudication — definition and treatments

Neurogenic claudication is a group of symptoms that are commonly associated with spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). This condition commonly develops in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, and the symptoms include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness

These symptoms often develop at the site of the nerve compression and can travel the length of the nerve pathway into the buttocks and legs, if developed in the lower back.

Definition

Neurogenic conditions originate in the nervous system, while the Latin word “claudication” literally means “limping.” Neurogenic claudication, therefore, is defined as limping that is accompanied by pain and cramping in the lower back, buttocks, hips and legs. These symptoms may follow periods of walking or standing, and can also occur while coughing.

Causes

This condition is a classic symptom of lumbar stenosis, or a narrowing of the lower region of the spine. A number of conditions can cause the spinal canal and nerve spaces to narrow, and the spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself to become compressed, including:

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

Many of these spine conditions are caused by degenerative changes that occur as a person ages. After years of continued wear and tear, the elements of the spine may begin to break down. When these conditions cause a spinal nerve to become compressed, a number of painful symptoms may develop, including pain, muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, spasms and neurogenic claudication.

Treatments

Many patients are able to find relief from these symptoms through conservative treatments such as pain medications, physical therapy and hot/cold compresses. Neurogenic claudication tends to improve when patients sit or stoop, as bending forward can help to stretch the spine and relieve some of the pressure placed on the spinal nerves. Your physician can help you find the right regimen of conservative treatment for pain relief.

If conservative treatment is ineffective after several months, the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute may be your best option for pain relief. Our minimally invasive procedures help patients find relief while avoiding the negative risks associated with traditional open back surgery. For example, our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer, more effective treatment with a shorter recovery time§ and lower risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.

Our surgeons may use a minimally invasive decompression or stabilization surgery to help relieve the nerve compression in your spine that is causing your neurogenic claudication. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery is the most common treatment for our patients with neurogenic claudication, though some patients need a stabilization procedure to regain stability within the spine.

To start your journey to wellness today, contact Laser Spine Institute and ask about the advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery. We can review your MRI report or CT scan to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.