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April 1969

Intermittent Claudication of Neurospinal Origin

Author Affiliations

From the departments of general and orthopedic surgery, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(4):523-529. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340100139019

Lower extremity pain produced by exercise and relieved by rest is regularly a symptom of arterial occlusive disease. Patients with such pain are evaluated by surgeons interested in treating vascular conditions. Sometimes the presence of a normal vascular examination and normal arteriography will exclude an arterial occlusion as the cause of the symptom complex. This then may leave the true cause of the symptoms in doubt. In such cases lumbar spine abnormalities causing neural compression should be considered as a cause of the intermittent claudication.

Neurogenic intermittent claudication has been thought to be rare. However, this condition of exercise pain relieved by rest and due to lumbar spine abnormality is not uncommon. The purpose of the present report is to emphasize this fact, clarify the symptom complex, and call attention to the neural etiology of such peripheral leg pain produced by exercise.

Report of Cases  Case 1.—This 64-year-old man