Knowing how to interpret the âshopping cart signâ when dealing with spinal stenosis pain
So there you are, shopping at the supermarket and suffering from the debilitating back pain that has dogged you for weeks, when, suddenly, you bend over the cart, andâŠvoila! Your spinal stenosis pain is gone. You stand up straight again, and the pain returns. Bend over: Gone. While this may seem like a curious phenomenon, and you may be seriously thinking of moving in to the grocery store for a while, thereâs a good reason for the pain reliefâand thereâs even a name for it: The âshopping cart sign.â
Leaning forward over the shopping cart flexes the spine slightly, which reduces the compression on the spine and therefore the pain felt while walking. Dr. Mark C. Valente,Â Board certifiedÂ andÂ fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeonÂ andÂ Founder and Medical DirectorÂ ofÂ DISC Spine Institute, a leader inÂ minimally invasive back treatmentsÂ and surgical procedures, has seen the phenomena time and time again, and he cautions patients against getting too excited about the temporary pain relief.
âThe momentary physical change can sometimes have a lasting change on patientsâ mental state,â he said. âWhat you donât want is for a patient to interpret the âshopping cart signâ as an indication that they are going to magically get better on their own or that they donât need treatment. A false feeling of security can be dangerous. The symptoms of spinal stenosis donât go away on their own, and while they do typically worsen slowly, the condition can become dangerous or even dire if it affects the bowel or bladder function. Myelopathy, which can result from spinal cord compression, can be an irreversible condition.â
Treatment for spinal stenosis
Seeing a top spine doctor is crucial for treating spinal stenosis pain. Managing the condition may be as easy as an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and some doctor-prescribed balance and flexibility exercises. Many patients also improve after epidural steroid injections, which can calm inflamed nerves and are done as a quick and easy outpatient procedure.
For more involved cases and when symptoms have been left to progress, minimally invasive surgery may be needed. âSome people have severe cases,â said WebMD. âThey struggle to walk or have issues with their bladder and bowel. Doctors may recommend surgery for these people. Procedures such asÂ laminectomyÂ create space between the bones soÂ inflammationÂ can go down.â
If you are experiencing spinal stenosis pain, contactÂ DISC Spine Institute, experts in back care andÂ minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain today. Minimally invasive surgical techniques mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.