Types of claudication — vascular and neurogenic

Neurogenic claudication is a medical term used to describe feelings of pain, weakness, cramping or discomfort in the legs that can cause limping and have a number of underlying causes.

The two main types of claudication are vascular and neurogenic. Understanding the difference between these two types of claudication can help you and your doctor properly diagnose the source of your pain and find an effective treatment for pain relief.

Vascular claudication

This specific form of neurogenic claudication is most often located in the buttocks or leg muscles, and occurs when poor circulation results in a lack of blood flow to the affected area. This is typically caused by atherosclerotic blockages, which are thick buildups in the arteries, preventing full blood flow.

Spinal neurogenic claudication

This form of neurogenic claudication is a common side effect of spinal stenosis of the lumbar spine, a degenerative spine condition that can develop in the lower back. Spinal stenosis occurs when the central spinal canal or the openings through which spinal nerves exit the spinal canal become constricted and place pressure on the nerves. This narrowing can be caused by a bulging or herniated disc, bone spurs or other issues. The resulting nerve compression can cause localized pain, especially in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine, or send pain shooting down the legs that results in pain and other mobility problems.

Treatment for neurogenic claudication

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of neurogenic claudication or vascular claudication, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Treatments for vascular forms of this condition often include medications, dietary supplements or even surgical intervention.

For spinal neurogenic claudication, conservative nonsurgical treatments have shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of spinal stenosis. These can include physical therapy, pain medication, hot/cold therapy, exercise and massage. However, if these options have been unable to bring pain relief after several months of treatment, your doctor may recommend a surgical option.

At Laser Spine Institute, we provide minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to relieve spinal stenosis and related symptoms like neurogenic claudication. Once this pressure is removed, the symptoms should subside. Unlike traditional open spine surgery, our procedures use muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a streamlined, outpatient procedure. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our outpatient procedures.

We are happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.