Risk factors for neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis

Understanding the risk factors for neurogenic claudication, limping associated with pain in the lower extremities, and other symptoms of spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spine, can have a positive effect on treatment. Some spinal stenosis risk factors are unavoidable, making it impossible to completely prevent this condition from occurring.

However, there are factors that can be controlled. So whether you have been diagnosed with the condition or you think you might be at risk for neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis, making certain lifestyle changes can offer you a better chance at a healthier, more active life.

Risk factors

Probably the biggest single cause of spinal stenosis is age, which no one can avoid. As we get older, our bodies experience wear and lose water content, causing issues like arthritis and degenerative disc disease. These conditions can constrict the already tight passageways that nerves travel through, causing the narrowing diagnosed by physicians as spinal stenosis. When this spinal condition compresses a nerve lower back, pain in the buttocks and legs that leads to mobility problems, or limping, is diagnosed as neurogenic claudication.

To work against the effects of aging and other uncontrollable risk factors such as genetics, there are lifestyle choices that the medical community commonly recommends. These include:

  • Quitting smoking — Smoking deprives the blood of oxygen and can cause the discs not to receive needed restoring nutrients.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight — Carrying excess body weight adds undue pressure to the neck and back.
  • Participating in low-impact exercises — Maintaining strong and flexible back and core muscles helps support the spine and take pressure off the discs, joints and nerves.

Avoiding risk factors can lessen your chances of developing spinal conditions that can cause spinal stenosis, including arthritic bone spurs and bulging discs.


Upon diagnosis, your primary doctor will usually start with a course of conservative treatments such as moderate exercise, intermittent rest and physical therapy gives meaningful relief in a large number of cases. Many patients also find relief from neurogenic claudication by sitting, which stretches the lower spine and can relieve some of the pressure placed on it.

Those who receive little relief from these conservative treatments and are looking at surgical options may want to consider the minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Advances in medical technology and technique have made it possible to access the spine with a smaller incision that can avoid the costs of overnight hospitalization and long recovery associated with traditional open back surgery.

Contact us for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.