Spinal neurogenic claudication — causes and treatments

The term spinal neurogenic claudication refers to a group of symptoms, most notably limping, that develop when a nerve is severely compressed in the lumbar (lower) spine. This is often associated with spinal stenosis, or narrowing, of the spinal nerve pathways and the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Cramping and weakness in the legs
  • Difficulty walking

These symptoms should be diagnosed by a physician to determine the exact cause of the nerve compression in your lower back and the best approach for treatment.

What causes neurogenic claudication?

In many cases, neurogenic claudication and spinal stenosis are the result of a degenerative spine condition. Bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs, or other age-related conditions can move a section of the spine out of alignment and reduce the space within the spinal canal.

As the spinal canal narrows, the nerve roots in the spinal canal may become compressed. This nerve compression is what causes the pain and other symptoms of spinal stenosis — including neurogenic claudication.

Treatment options for neurogenic claudication

The treatment options for neurogenic claudication largely depend on the cause of the condition. For example, spinal arthritis that causes nerve compression may require a different treatment plan than a herniated disc. Speak to your doctor to develop a personalized care plan for your specific needs and condition. Some of the specific treatments often recommended to relieve pain and improve mobility include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Medication
  • Yoga and stretching
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Spinal injections
  • Lifestyle changes like weight management, posture improvement or quitting smoking, if needed

Some people also try alternative treatments, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, to relieve the pain of neurogenic claudication.

However, if months of conservative treatments are unable to relieve pain enough to engage in a healthy lifestyle, you may be recommended to undergo spine surgery. Before you commit to any type of spine procedure, we encourage you to research the benefits of the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Our procedures offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ To date, our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization surgeries have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain and experience a lower risk of complication than offered by traditional open spine surgery. To learn more about our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

We are happy to provide a no-cost review of your MRI report or CT scan* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.