Neurogenic claudication treatment

Neurogenic claudication is a collection of symptoms that develops from the narrowing of the lower spine — a condition called lumbar spinal stenosis. The term neurogenic means having to do with nerves and claudication comes from the Latin word for limping. Limping can result from the pain, cramping, weakness and tingling felt in the lower back, buttocks and legs. These symptoms can be caused by compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root in the lumbar region.

Patients looking for neurogenic claudication treatment usually start with a course of conservative therapy to manage these symptoms before exploring surgery. If you’re looking to get back to a more active life that isn’t disrupted by pain and limited mobility, learning about the most effective methods of treatment and how they work is a great first step.

Extension and flexion of the spine

An often overlooked way to relieve pain from neurogenic claudication is finding simple ways to adapt to episodes of pain and limited mobility. When we stand up or walk straight, it can increase pressure on the nerves. In contrast, when we flex the spine, by sitting or bending forward at the waist, pressure can be relieved. Many patients are able to find some degree of relief by planning for periods of rest in between walking or standing sessions.

Nonsurgical neurogenic treatment

Conservative, or nonsurgical, options may be suggested by your physician as the first step in a treatment plan for neurogenic claudication, which may include methods like the following:

  • Pain medication — Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may provide symptomatic relief of mild to moderate pain. In more serious cases, steroidal or opioid nerve root blocks, which are injections of medications directly on or near the affected nerve are used.
  • Physical therapy — Therapy usually consists of flexion exercises that strengthen supporting muscles that can help take pressure off the spine, improving mobility and relieving pain.
  • Spinal manipulation — Chiropractors perform adjustments that are meant to put the vertebrae back into place, relieving pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Alternative treatments — Yoga, Pilates, massage therapy and other alternative treatments are reported by many patients to help ease painful symptoms.

Persisting pain affects your life

If you have been through a full course of treatment without finding acceptable relief for your symptoms, you and your doctor may start to look at surgery as an option. Traditional open back surgery is usually seen as a last-resort treatment due to the overnight hospitalization, long recovery and scarring that can result from these highly invasive procedures.

Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to this procedure with minimally invasive spine surgery, which uses a smaller incision to access the spine. These procedures are performed in our state-of-the-art outpatient centers, where patients are encouraged to be up and walking within hours of a procedure.^

Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive outpatient procedures.