What are the symptoms of neurogenic claudication?

Neurogenic claudication, also known as spinal claudication, is the cramping in the legs and difficulty walking as a result of nerve compression in the lumbar spine (lower back).

The symptoms of neurogenic claudication can sometimes go unrecognized, with people thinking that the leg cramps and other symptoms are a result of a small injury or other condition. However, these symptoms will not go away on their own; in fact, they will 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 pain and find a treatment plan before you miss out too much on your active lifestyle.

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-L5 level (between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae) or the L5-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 feeling, that travels down the lower back, through the buttocks and into the thigh
  • Weakness that affects muscle groups innervated by the affected nerve or nerves
  • Bowel or bladder problems, 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 severe, even life-threatening, condition, and 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 symptoms.

However, if chronic discomfort persists after several 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. Both types of procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Because our procedures are performed with minimally invasive techniques, our patients have the benefit of a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication than patients who choose traditional open back surgery.

To find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute today and ask for a review of your MRI report or CT scan.