Symptoms of Neurogenic Claudication

Neurogenic claudication is a set of symptoms brought about by the narrowing of the spinal canal (a condition called spinal stenosis) in the lumbar region, or lower back. The restriction of the spinal canal can occur for several reasons, but the resulting compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots is what usually causes symptoms of neurogenic claudication to manifest. Typically, someone with the condition will exhibit the following symptoms in the lower back, buttocks and legs:

  • Pain
  • Cramping
  • Weakness
  • Tingling

Extension and flexion

The spinal canal naturally narrows when the spine is extended. Spinal extension in the lower back means you’re standing erect, moving your spine back and pulling your neck farther away from your chest. Osteophytes (bone spurs) and bulging or herniated discs may already be limiting spinal canal space, so extension of the spine may contribute to the development of the neurogenic claudication symptom set. Therefore, symptoms usually become evident particularly when walking or standing for long periods of time and can present on one side of the body (unilaterally) or both (bilaterally). Interestingly, the discomfort often subsides when sitting or bending forward at the waist, which flexes the spine. Flexion (moving the spine forward) naturally widens the spinal canal.

What treatment options are there?

Many people with neurogenic claudication learn to live with, and adapt to, their symptoms. For example, they plan bouts of walking with periods of rest in between, or lean over an object such as a shopping cart while walking to temporarily alleviate symptoms. Conservative treatments such as physical therapy, light aerobic exercise and pain medications may also aid in symptomatic relief.

Whether you are experiencing pain or other common symptoms of neck and back conditions, such as muscle weakness and cramping, contact Laser Spine Institute today to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan. Our outpatient, minimally invasive procedures have enabled tens of thousands of people to find relief from neck and back pain.