Prevention of neurogenic claudication and other symptoms of spinal stenosis

Neurogenic claudication — or limping related to a nerve issue — is a common symptom of spinal stenosis, or narrowing, in the lower spine. This can be one of the most debilitating symptoms that accompanies this condition because it directly affects your ability to do the things you love, like spending time with your family or just being able to cook a meal.

If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and are trying to prevent the development of neurogenic claudication, or stop it from worsening, knowing about the causes and risk factors of this condition can be beneficial. Make sure to consult your primary physician about any lifestyle changes or treatments you decide to undertake.

Causes of neurogenic claudication

Spinal stenosis occurs when a part of the spine — like a disc or joint — becomes displaced and causes narrowing. This is commonly related to degenerative spinal conditions like spinal arthritis or degenerative disc disease. Congenital conditions and tumors can also cause spinal stenosis in rarer cases.

Symptoms occur when this narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root; this can result in both local pain or irritation and radiating symptoms to the extremities. A compressed nerve from stenosis in the lower spine can cause symptoms like neurogenic claudication in the hips, buttocks and legs. The pain, muscle weakness and cramping associated with it can have a severe effect on mobility and produce the limping that gives this symptom its name.

Risk factors

Many of the spinal conditions that cause spinal stenosis occur because of deterioration that takes place during the natural aging process. Years of wear and tear can take a toll on the neck and back, causing the spine to degenerate. While the natural aging process happens to everyone, you can take action to potentially slow degenerative changes by being aware of certain risk factors that can accelerate their development. Here are some proven ways to maintain your overall spine health:

  • Avoid smoking and using nicotine products
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Participate in moderate exercise
  • Take care when lifting heavy objects
  • Practice good posture and body mechanics

Treatment

If you are already dealing with symptoms of spinal stenosis, there are options for pain relief. Conservative treatments prescribed by your doctor or specialist, such as physical therapy and epidural steroid injections, provide many patients with enough symptom relief to return to the activities of daily life.

Surgery becomes an option when weeks or months of conservative treatment don’t bring needed relief. If you are exploring surgery to treat spinal stenosis but are concerned about the risks and difficulties of a traditional open spine procedure, reach out to Laser Spine Institute.

We are the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery — which offers many advantages and less risk compared to traditional open back surgery. This includes a shorter recovery time^ and less surgical scarring because our surgeons use a smaller incision to access the spine. Contact us to receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine procedures.