Neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis surgery

Neurogenic claudication, the group of symptoms that cause limping or difficulty walking, often develop when lumbar spinal stenosis compresses a nerve root in the lower back. If compressed with enough pressure, the pinched nerve root will send signals of pain, cramping, numbness, tingling and muscle weakness from the lower back into the buttocks, legs and feet.

The development of neurogenic claudication can greatly prevent a patient’s quality of life. Simple tasks like walking or sitting for long periods of time become painful and difficult. Without treatment, this condition may worsen. If you have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication, consult your doctor or contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute about the conservative and surgical treatments available to you.

Conservative spinal stenosis treatments

Many patients find relief from the symptoms of spinal stenosis with conservative treatments, such as:

  • Pain medication
  • Hot and/or cold therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Low-impact exercise
  • Physical therapy

These treatments should only be practiced under a doctor’s guidance to maintain your health and safety. After several weeks or months of these treatments, you should experience a noticeable decrease in your symptoms or possibly pain relief altogether. If you do not experience pain relief after several weeks or months of your nonsurgical treatment regimen, spine surgery may become necessary.

Types of spinal stenosis surgery

Many of the conditions that cause spinal stenosis (such as degenerative disc disease, bone spurs and bulging discs) can be treated through surgical means. The first traditional open back surgery used to treat these conditions is a discectomy where the damaged disc is removed and the adjoining vertebrae are fused together with a bone graft. The second procedure is a laminectomy, which entails either a partial or complete removal of the lamina (a portion of the vertebrae) to widen the spinal canal.

While these procedures aim to reduce the pressure on the pinched nerve, the way they are performed leaves patients with an increased risk of complication and an extended recovery time. This is because each procedure requires a large 6- to 8-inch incision that cuts through the muscles supporting the spine, leaving patients more susceptible to excessive blood loss and infection as well as a lengthy recovery period.

Minimally invasive spinal stenosis procedures

Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute offers patients a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Because we approach the spine with minimally invasive techniques, such as a small incision and no muscle disruption, our patients experience a shorter recovery time, lower risk of infection and less surgical blood loss^ compared to traditional open back surgery.

Our surgical recommendation for your treatment will depend on the cause of your spinal stenosis. For example, if a bone spur is reducing the space in your spinal canal and causing nerve compression, we may recommend a minimally invasive decompression surgery to relieve the pressure on the nerve root. This type of procedure is performed through a less than 1-inch incision and simply removes a small portion of the bone spur without affecting the stability of the spine.

If your spinal stenosis is caused by a severely damaged disc, however, we may recommend a minimally invasive stabilization procedure. This simply means the surgeon will remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disc and perhaps small bone grafts. To see if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures to treat neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis, reach out to Laser Spine Institute and request a free MRI review.*