What Is Spinal Claudication?


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Spinal claudication is a condition where the patient experiences leg pain because of spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, according to Spine-health. Unlike leg pain that's caused by vascular problems, claudication caused by spinal stenosis does not automatically go away with rest. The onset of spinal claudication is usually gradual, though it can come on suddenly.

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Besides the pain not ending right away, the patient also experiences low back pain, says Spine-health. The pain is eased when he bends forward because this allows the spine to open up and release some of the pressure on the nerve. However, when the patient straightens up, the pain in his leg returns. The pain is often attended by tingling and numbness.

The claudication that is caused by spinal stenosis is treated both nonsurgically and surgically, notes Spine-health. Exercises do not cure the condition but allow the patient to stay active, as inactivity makes the condition worse. The patient is also taught to avoid those activities that bring on the pain and to modify his posture in a way that causes the pain to relent. For example, a patient is told that walking bent over while leaning on a support such as a walker is acceptable. Other treatments include epidural injections, anti-inflammatory pain killers and spinal stenosis surgery.

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