The spine is composed of a series of bones called vertebrae, the spinal canal, and rubber-like discs stacked on top of one another. In the center of the spine is the spinal cord, which is made up of a bundle of nerves that provides functionality to the arms and legs. Neurogenic Claudication is leg pain that results from compression of the neurological structures.
Neurogenic Claudication is typically caused by Spinal Stenosis. Spinal Stenosis is a condition that occurs when bones change shape over time resulting in narrowing of the spinal canal. Also, with age, the center of the disc can dry out. These discs can change shape over time and bulge into the spinal canal. The joints and ligaments can also enlarge and bulge into the spinal canal. This can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal, placing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. When this occurs in the lower back, this can result in diffuse leg pain, weakness, and cramping known as Neurogenic Claudication.
This most commonly occurs as a result of the body’s natural aging process, also known as degeneration. When degeneration causes pain, this is known as arthritis.
Pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs
Pain that can increase with physical activity such as walking and/or standing
Cramping, heaviness, and numbness in the legs
To diagnose, your doctor will perform a clinical exam and ask you a number of questions regarding your symptoms. Your doctor may look for abnormalities via a physical examination, X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Non-surgical treatment may be sufficient to control pain and discomfort associated with Neurogenic Claudication. The doctor may recommend over-the-counter medications to help reduce pain. Sometimes, relief is found using steroids to help reduce inflammation. If these methods fail, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or Epidural Steroid Injections.
During an Epidural Steroid Injection, the doctor uses a live x-ray image to place medicine directly near the area that is inflamed and causing pain. This is a short outpatient procedure that takes place in a surgical center, doctor's office, or hospital.
When non-surgical treatment fails to provide relief and/or symptoms begin to progressively worsen, or an individual has bowel or leg impairment, surgical intervention may be recommended.