Types of neurogenic claudication

Neurogenic claudication is a medical term used to describe the feeling of pain, weakness, cramping and/or discomfort in the legs.

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

Vascular neurogenic 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 — thick buildups in the arteries — that prevent 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 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, or lower, region of the spine), or send pain shooting down the legs.

Treatment for neurogenic claudication

If you’re experiencing any form of neurogenic claudication, always discuss treatment options with your physician. 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, massage and others. However, if these treatment options have failed to bring pain relief after several months of treatment, your physician may recommend a surgical option.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures to remove part or all of the protruding disc in the spinal canal that is pressing against the nerve root. Once this pressure is removed, the symptoms should subside. Depending on the severity of the condition, the surgeons will recommend that a small portion be removed or that the entire disc be replaced with an artificial disc and/or bone grafts to support the spine.

Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our outpatient procedures. Our effective procedures are minimally invasive and can help you find relief from back pain.