What are the symptoms of neurogenic claudication?

Neurogenic claudication is the cramping in the legs and difficulty walking as a result of the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar spine (lower back). The symptoms of neurogenic claudication can sometimes go unrecognized, with people thinking that the leg cramps as well as pain, tingling and weakness are a result of a small injury or other condition. However, these symptoms will not go away on their own and will most likely worsen over time.

To expedite your treatment process and help you get back to your quality of life faster, it’s important that you identify what symptoms could be related to neurogenic claudication. This will help your doctor diagnose your condition and find a treatment plan before you miss out too much on your active lifestyle. To learn about the sensation of neurogenic claudication, along with the treatments that may be helpful in relieving your symptoms, read the following article.

What neurogenic claudication feels like

Spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, can lead to neurogenic claudication if the nerves within the canal are compressed. Spinal stenosis is often a result of a degenerative spine condition that has developed with the aging and weakening of the spine.

Degenerative conditions commonly arise at the L4 to L5 level (between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae) or the L5 to S1 level (between the fifth lumbar and first sacral vertebrae). Nerve roots at that level affect the lower body, and an interruption of nerve function around the lumbar spine may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Mild pain or cramping in the lower back and/or buttocks that becomes increasingly worse
  • Tingling, or a pins-and-needles sensation, that travels down the lower back, through the buttocks and into the thigh
  • Weakness that affects muscle groups impacted by the affected nerve or nerves

In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction may also occur, if nerve compression affects the cauda equina, which is a bundle of nerves that extends off the bottom of the spinal cord. This can be a life-threatening condition. Therefore, medical treatment should be sought immediately.

How to treat neurogenic claudication

Symptoms associated with neurogenic claudication can be managed using exercises that emphasize flexing the spine forward, along with pain medication. Your doctor can recommend a series of conservative treatments to help relieve pressure on the pinched nerve that is causing your pain and discomfort.

However, if chronic discomfort persists after several weeks or months of conservative treatment, you may be a candidate for the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. At Laser Spine Institute, we believe patients should have a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ That is why we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat the most common spine conditions, including the resulting symptoms of neurogenic claudication.

To help treat the symptoms of neurogenic claudication, we offer a minimally invasive decompression surgery or a minimally invasive stabilization surgery, though most patients are recommended for a decompression procedure. Because our procedures are performed with minimally invasive techniques and small incisions, our patients have the benefit of a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complication than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.^

Since 2005, the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. To find out if our procedures would be effective in relieving your neurogenic claudication symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a free MRI review.*