How to treat neurogenic claudication — a practical guide

Neurogenic claudication is a group of symptoms that often develop as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. Specifically, this term describes the limping that can occur with severe nerve compression in this area. Symptoms can extend down the leg and into the foot, causing limping and difficulty walking or standing.

Often, people with neurogenic claudication can experience temporary relief by sitting down or bending forward at the waist. The symptoms of discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, thighs or calves begin to diminish when the spine is stretched. This is because the compressed nerves that are causing the symptoms are given more space, thereby removing the pressure on the nerve.

While making these adjustments can be beneficial, finding longer-term relief from neurogenic claudication requires working with your doctor to find the right combination of treatments for you and your condition.

Conservative treatments for neurogenic claudication

Neurogenic claudication symptoms typically begin as mild pain in the lower back or tingling in the buttocks, thighs or calves. These symptoms can be experienced on both sides of the body or only on one side. Symptoms tend to worsen over time, especially if the original cause of the condition is left untreated.

After diagnosing the cause of lumbar nerve compression, such as a herniated disc or bone spur, most treatment plans will begin with conservative options. These may include:

  • Exercise or physical therapy designed to improve flexibility and strengthen supporting muscles
  • Over-the-counter or prescription medication that reduces pain or inflammation
  • Epidural steroid injections that reduce pain and inflammation in the area affected by nerve compression for a period of time
  • Lifestyle changes that encourage better posture habits
  • A brace or belt to support the lower back and inhibit activities that produce symptoms

Minimally invasive spine surgery for neurogenic claudication

If the symptoms do not lessen after several months of conservative treatment, your doctor may recommend spine surgery to take pressure off of the affected nerve and relieve neurogenic claudication.

Before committing to traditional open back surgery, you should research the advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. The benefits of our procedures include:

  • A less than 1-inch incision
  • Shorter recovery time^
  • Lower risk of complication or infection compared to traditional procedures^
  • Outpatient procedure
  • 98 patient satisfaction score^

To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can help you receive a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.