What is Neural Claudication?
Recently we addressed the topic of claudication, pain typically felt in the legs as a result of vascular, or blood vessel problems, or back problems such as spinal stenosis that can result in pinched nerves in the lower back. Neurogenic claudication is a common symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar, or lower portion of the spine. Neurogenic refers to the problem’s genesis in the nerves, and claudication, Latin for limp, refers to the painful weakness or cramping the patient feels in his or her legs. Neurogenic claudication can be bilateral (in both legs) or unilateral (in one leg). The pain may be triggered by walking or prolonged standing, and is typically alleviated by changing position or flexion of the waist, not simply by resting, as happens with vascular claudication. In severe cases, the pain may be persistent. Bone spurs, bulging discs and herniated discs can also cause neurogenic claudication.
Conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medications and injections may be sufficient to relieve neurogenic claudication, but surgery may be recommended in moderate to severe cases that don’t respond to conservative protocols. Spinal decompression surgery is typically performed to remove portions of the vertebrae impinging on a nerve. This pinched nerve is the source of the pain, weakness and cramping of neurogenic claudication. Following the spinal decompression treatment, a secondary operation is performed to stabilize the spine in the area where vertebral material was removed. In the past, spinal fusion back surgery was the sole available surgical stabilization procedure performed with spinal decompression. However, spine fusion surgery eliminates the natural independent motion of the fused vertebrae, and can contribute to deterioration of adjacent vertebrae. Now the TOPS (Total Posterior Solution) System provides an alternative to spinal fusion that preserves the full range of natural motion of each vertebrae. If you experience pain that interferes with your quality of life, seek qualified medical help. Today’s advanced procedures provide excellent outcomes. Get the facts about all your treatment options.