Low Back Pain and The Shopping Cart

Who says that only the current ongoing inflation is costing us the trip to the grocery store? The most common symptom of narrowing in the lumbar spine is when patients relate to us that when they go grocery shopping, the pain sets in and the cart comes to the rescue as they lean on it for some time until they are able to walk more. This is seen more and more commonly with central canal as well as foraminal stenosis in the lumbar spine. Dr. Bukhalo offers his insight into this by stating that in fact, his patients find themselves leaning towards the cart unconsciously as the pain flares up. Some of our non-shoppers describe this positioning as having to bend down while taking their evening walk and after a certain distance due to low back pain, while some who sing in the choir are not able to stand for very long and bend towards any support they can avail at the time.

When you think of how low back pain can affect such routines of our lives, it is important to think of how to manage this in the long term. The above body positioning examples are a way of relieving the pressure off the nerve root being compressed due to the narrowing in the spine. Similar is the action of steroids injected in the epidural space, where using their pharmacological qualities, they help reduce the pressure on the nerves overall. I like to put it as allowing the nerves to breathe a little. Always remember an irritated nerve is a nerve causing pain.

Such is the use of steroid-based epidural injections, or any other interventional procedure performed to ease the cause around the affected nerve. While we perform these on a daily basis, we adhere strictly to ensuring optimal placement of the needle using fluoroscopy, the comfort of our patient, sterilization, and most importantly establishing medical necessity. We see a lot of our patients wanting to “stay away from injections”, but if you are able to establish a direct correlation between your pain symptoms and the way it consciously and unconsciously affects your activities of daily living, you may want to reconsider if you want to live with constant pain, or make use of interventional state-of-the-art techniques to get better pain control. As Dr. Ahsan likes to explain to his patients, “medications throughout the day are just a band-aid” to your pain. I cannot emphasize enough how much this rings true to all our journeys with patients in pain.

If you think it is about time to address that nagging pain and dump the shopping cart, call us today!