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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index


In another post (I bumped this quote up because I did not want to hijack someone elses post), you wrote:[/COLOR]

"With my lumbar stenosis, I developed really severe neurogenic claudication. It felt like a very deep, intense, burning, cramp-like pain in my lower spine, down into both sides of my rear, and down the backs of my thighs. It was a different feeling than the sciatica pains, which were more sharp & stabbing.
That claudication was due to the nerves in my spinal canal and surrounding blood vessels being compressed. I also had bad muscle spasms. This would happen any time I tried to stand up straight and forget about bending backwards....that would bring me to my knees. The only time I got relief was leaning my body on top of a shopping cart or sitting down & bending forward.
Do you find any relief if you bend over? Or does the pain feel worse if you bend backwards?

Were you ever told what type of stenosis you have and what exactly it was caused by? Some are caused by discs pressing into different types of nerves and some are caused by bony overgrowth. I had 2 centrally herniated discs plus alot of spurs and bony overgrowth also inside the vertebrae, plus a long ligament that runs up and down the spine was buckling into my canal. All this transpired for me over 3 1/2 years time until I could no longer walk.

I cannot say what is causing your pain but it's possible it could be claudication. I also think you should see a spine specialist and have an MRI done."

[COLOR="red"]Wow! These symptoms sound so similiar to me. I have had right leg sciatia for over 3 years. Lately, I have been experiencing more and more very deep, intense, burning, cramp-like pain in my lower spine and into both legs. The pain will come on very quickly and I can't get my medicine in quick enough. It takes away my breath. There is no pattern to onset. I get it sitting/laying down. Last night, I was up and down with it. It comes on with a sudden vengenance. Does this sound like what you have??? How did you get diagnosed with neurogenic claudication? How have they treated you?

I had a s1/s2 fusion in 1982. Very successful. No pain until 3 years ago. Laminectomy (removal of bone spurs/nerve was flaming red -- surgery took 4 hours) May 2006. I was perfectly fine until September 2006 and I put some dishes in the dishwasher and bang the pain was unbelievable. Leg pain/Back pain. MRI shows not hernination. Treated with steroids, pt, and selective nerve block. Am awaiting fusion - anyday now.

I have had this pain since December after they did a selective nerve block. My pain was gone for 2 days and returned full blast. I have never had pain in my toes and this burning cramp until that nerve block.

I did tell my physician about the foot pain and he was not really concerned about it saying it was typical for my type of case.

Any comments or feedback would be appreciated. I know you are not a doctor but I find your posts to be very helpful.

Thank you.[/COLOR]
Hiya, Pepper...

It does sound alot like some symptoms I had.

First, about 4 years ago now (time sure flys!) I started out with minor, annoying, on and off lower back pain. I also had some swellings up and down my spine. I saw a walk-in doc when I had a large swelling in my lumbar spine (first I thought maybe something bit me or I needed a new mattress) All that doc did was give me painkillers (no xrays, no other tests). Over time I would get low back pain that got worse & lasted longer. I also had tender spots on my vertebrae that started traveling up my spine. I had finally mentioned that to my current rheumy, who gave me various numbing injections. I tried so many things and my pain kept getting worse. I developed that deep burning, aching pain while standing & walking..and eventually my body found a more comfortable position......I felt much better if I walked bent over in almost a 90degree angle. I also felt better if I sat down bent forward.
Then I devloped very localized, sharp stabbing, nauseating pain in my lower spine that I could pinpoint. This ended up to be sciatica, which mostly shot down my left leg. It went into my rear & down the side of the leg. Though after some time, it also went into my groin and spread to the front of my leg. It would not be constant, it would mostly happen when standing or walking. I also could no longer lay down on my back or with my legs stretched out. I had to lay in bed on my side with my legs curled up to my chest. Otherwise my feet and lower legs engulfed with pins & needles and fell asleep. Sometimes while walking, my left foot would get some pins & needles also.
When I started vomiting from pain and could no longer do anything normal, I told my rheumy how bad it got. He sent me for x-rays & several MRI's right away. Xrays only showed mild scoliosis and some spurs. MRI's showed degenerative disc disease, spinal osteoarthritis, severe central canal stenosis in L3 to L5, and 2 herniated discs (one with a tear). I also have thickening & buckling of a ligament that runs up & down the spine. All of this was pushing into my spinal canal, squeezing it together. Think of it like a clogged drain or plaque build up inside an artery.

My rheumy said the deep, burning, cramping pains that occured upon standing straight or trying to bend backwards was caused by the stenosis.
My spine surgeon told me these symptoms, along with my having to walk leaning on a shopping cart, were classic signs of neurogenic claudication, which is what it's callled. All that compression inside the spinal canal actually squeezes all the nerves and blood vessels in there. It causes deep nerve pain and cramping due to compression of the blood vessels in there. (PS ..i love my spine surgeon..he was very good in explaining all this to me).

I also want to tell you....before surgery, I did have series of epidural steroid injections into my spine. It DID help the sciatica and helped to resolve my disc herniations & tear (along with alot of physical therapy)....but absolutely nothing helped the claudication pain. Not even vicodin or muscle relaxants helped this. SO after the epidurals, my sciatica was gone, YAYYY, but the claudication remained. My docs said it was due to compression going on for too long and my condition worsening fairly quickly.

I see you've already had a laminectomy....I just had this done in L3 through L5 for my stenosis in Sept. He removed the laminae & cleaned out the bony areas he thought could be contributing. I did not have fusion, though. My surgeon wanted to be as conservative as there's always a chance I could redevelop stenosis in that area..or in other areas of my spine. If it happens again down the line, then I may get a fusion. But since I'm young and had already been doing PT for 6 months before surgery, it helped strengthen my core & muscles around the spine. And in my case, since I've recovered from my surgery.....I have no more claudication at all! I can stand straight again, I can even bend backwards again!!! Since I do still have spinal OA, I still get some pains in my spine here & there...but it is nothing compared to how I was!

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